Robin Greenwood considers the dual (and competing) roles of paint as both a material and as a "designator and articulator of form and space."
He asks: "how do we reconcile illusion with being abstract? This conundrum is probably why the phenomenological aspects of medium and ground keep being obsessed over, as a desperate attempt to sidestep the problem and make painting 'real' again.... So the problem for painting is this – how to move on into new abstract territory, whilst understanding that to paint any 'thing' is to risk a kind of representation. If we are seriously ambitious for abstract painting, we will want to work our way through and out of that dilemma.
Greenwood finds some answers in the work of painter Alan Gouk, whose work is on view at Poussin Gallery, London, through February 18, 2012.