Like Watching Paint Thrive

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Roberta Smith reviews five concurrent New York exhibitions embracing various strains of contemporary painting: Everyday Abstract – Abstract Everyday at James Cohan Gallery (through July 27), Context Message at Zach Feuer (through Aug 12), Painting Space at Luhring Augustine (through August 17), Stretching Painting at Galerie Lelong (through August 3), and The Big Picture at Sikkema Jenkins (July 27).

Smith writes: "Evidence of painting's lively persistence is on view in Chelsea in five ambitious group exhibitions… Together these shows feature the work of more than 120 artists and indicate some of what is going on in and around the medium. Some are more coherent than others, and what they collectively reveal is hardly the whole story, not even close. (For one thing there’s little attention to figuration; the prevailing tilt is toward abstraction of one sort or another.) A few of the shows take a diffuse approach, examining the ways painting can merge with sculpture or Conceptual Art and yield pictorial hybrids that may not even involve paint; others are more focused on the medium’s traditional forms."

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