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Persistence of Narrative Painting

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Seph Rodney considers the persistence of narrative painting in the works of Jane Corrigan, Nicole Eisenman and Raqib Shaw.

Rodney begins: "The early 20th-century’s turn towards modernism in painting was a decisive shift in interest away from artistic representation of acts of witnessing. Abstract art—which now seems to dominate many visual demesnes including the decorative and graphic design, and sets the agenda for contemporary painting practice—is about a different kind of personal account, one not dependent on history or observed phenomenon, but on the artist’s facility to invent, to interpret, to play, and to condition our expectations. Still, narrative painting persists. Several well-known contemporary artists use narrative devices in their work: Chris Ofili, Angela Dufresne, John Currin, Lari Pittman and William Kentridge all come to mind. This essay will examine the continuing significance of narrative through the work of three painters with distinctly compelling idioms: Jane Corrigan, Nicole Eisenman and Raqib Shaw."

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