As technology advanced, digital art rose to prominence in the art industry, and some began to suggest that traditional paintings would no longer be viewed in the same way. Fortunately, the traditional art of painting has not been erased from the face of the planet, but innovation has led to the discovery of new media. Artificial intelligence, mixed media, sound art, light art and many more have become leading examples for artists pushing the boundaries. Today’s art world and art market are bold, vibrant and enigmatic, with limitless possibilities for immersive experiences. The painter’s new tools, presented by New York-based Nahmad Contemporary, examines the spectrum of artistic innovation. The art exhibition, curated by Eleanor Cayre and Dean Kissick, examines artists pushing the boundaries of what painting can be by combining software, CGI, code, artificial intelligence, printers, tablets, phones and other creative technologies of images to develop new methods of manipulating paint and paint without the actual use of paint.
The exhibition aims to get viewers to think about the idea that if they woke up today after sleeping for 20 years, they would discover that the physical world had not changed significantly. Viewers would notice that in this whole new world, how everyone is always looking at their phone and how photographs are everywhere. How everyone creates, recreates and communicates through images; and in some ways turned into images on screens. At a critical moment in history, images mediate your perception of the world, which increasingly takes place within the graphic realm of these images. It’s quite disorienting. It changed the way people think about painting: how can you produce a distinct image in the face of so many images, so many distractions, and does it really matter? What are the painter’s new tools and what can be done with them?
Many of these works are created in collaboration with or by machines. For decades painters have tried to mimic the effects of light with paint, but today they can draw with pure light, on internally lit canvases. Great art represents the time in which it was created, as well as the changes that occurred at the time, through its form, content, medium and philosophy. It not only represents its time, but also helps keep that time moving.
The painter’s new tools will feature works by Ei Arakawa, Darren Bader, Kerstin Brätsch, Alex Carver, Kate Cooper, Aria Dean, Harm van denDorpel, Urs Fischer, Wade Guyton, Kate Mosher Hall, Rachel Harrison, Camille Henrot, Tishan Hsu, Jibade-Khalil Huffman , Jacqueline Humphries, Alex Israel, Jesse Kanda, Scott Lyall, Helen Marten, Ezra Miller, Julien Nguyen, Albert Oehlen, Laura Owens, Seth Price, Richard Prince, Rachel Rose, Sarah Sze, Tojiba CPU Corp, Jessica Wilson, Jordan Wolfson and Anika Yi.
The exhibition space presents an array of artistic mediums. Artists are not limited to traditional painting mediums alone, but involve a variety of media. From LEDs, hand-dyed fabrics, epoxy, honeycomb, digital screens and gesso to UV printing on aluminum, and more, viewers are surprised in a whole new way. The exhibition organizers believe that the time has come for art to convey what it feels like to be alive today, as well as how much our perception of reality and unreality has changed. Paintings that investigate how new aesthetics and experiences could be created. Faced with the plethora of paths opened up by modernism and contemporary art, as well as the many new technologies of the 21st century, the options available to an artist today are far greater than ever.
The painter’s new tools takes place at Nahmad Contemporary, New York, USA, until September 24, 2022.
(Text by Vatsala Sethi, Deputy Editorial Coordinator (Arts))