September 04, 2008 — September 27, 2008
76 Grand Street, New York
Conceptual Figures, an exhibition of new conceptually based figurative painting, opens on September 4th at Deitch Projects. The twelve artists in the exhibition are fusing two seemingly contradictory approaches to art, Conceptualism and Illusionism. Painting is approached as an intellectual construct rather than as a visual impression of a live model. This does not mean that the resulting images are the product of rational thought. The current strand of Conceptualism reaches back through the pre-rational mind, becoming almost metaphysical.
Conceptual figuration builds on the innovations of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. It represents a break with the impressionistic and expressionist traditions of modern figuration. The emerging generation of painters featured in this exhibition embraces the innovations of Karen Kilimnik, John Currin, and Glenn Brown pushing figuration further toward the uncanny. Their realism extends their vision into the unreal. Previous generations of figurative painters explored the position of painting after photography. This generation is refining the position of painting after Photoshop.
All of the artists in the exhibition, with the exception of Anders Oinonen, who lives in Canada, are working in New York. Most of them are recent graduates of New York area art schools. Several of the artists participated in the Conceptual Figuration seminar taught by Kurt Kauper at Yale. Kauper, whose work is also included in this exhibition, has been a leader in articulating a new conceptual approach to figurative painting.