Emily Spicer reviews the exhibition Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists at Tate Britain, London, on view through February 9, 2014. The show features works by Tomma Abts, Gillian Carnegie, Simon Ling, Lucy McKenzie, and Catherine Story.
Spicer writes that the show "brings together five contemporary artists whose paintings occupy a variety of conceptual concerns, while sharing certain leanings towards traditional practice... A quiet strangeness pervades these works, a sort of understated but powerful aesthetic connected by illusion, by the strangeness of perception and the transformative power of interpreting the world in paint. And each artist in this exhibition has a nuanced and subtle message. Formalist concerns sit alongside ideas of artistic appropriation, shifting meanings and political ideology... the true aim of this exhibition remains elusive and as subtle as the paintings themselves. However, what we can be sure of is that, right now, painting is alive and well."