Shane Campbell Gallery is pleased to present “New Image Painting” at the gallery’s Milwaukee Avenue location. This exhibition uses the historic exhibitions, “New Image Painting” at the Whitney Museum in 1978 and “Bad Painting” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, also in 1978, as a platform for featuring artists whose current work engages the concerns argued by these two shows. Both of these exhibitions served as a critique of dominant styles at the time by introducing de-skilled aesthetics, art-historical sources, and personal narrative, among other qualities as a means of offering an alternative to tired abstract and minimal art. Recently, a form of anemic abstract painting has occupied too much space within contemporary art and needs to get out of the way. This type of work serves as a placeholder for value and is satisfied with its blankness that offers a site for infinitely shallow projection on the part of the viewer.
New Image Painting is clearly back, although painters may not self-identify with the term. It’s useful as an organizing principle in that it offers a platform from which to critique the prevalence of anemic abstraction and algorithmic art, styles that have become almost anonymous in their distancing of authorship and their soulless execution. Through the recovery of characteristics associated with “New Image” and “Bad” painting, current painters have demonstrated a desire to claim the personal, narration, figuration, and art history as worthy of representation.