Exhibition: The Indiscipline of Painting: International Abstraction from the 1960s to now, Tate St Ives, St Ives, until January 3 2012
© Bernard Frize. Collection of the artist, courtesy Simon Lee Gallery, London
It is so often heard that painting is dead, that you may well hear protestations to the contrary with every opening of a new show of works on canvas. At any rate, major group shows which focus on painting are still, these days, rare.
But all of the examples in The Indiscipline of Painting are drawn from the last 50 years and all of them are abstract. These parameters ensure that artists as diverse as Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley and Gerhard Richter reveal common ground.
All three artists have explored abstraction in tandem with works that are more or less representational. Even Riley appears to have been doing landscapes in the light of her Poussin influenced works seen recently at the National Gallery.
But younger painters such as Tomma Abts and curator Daniel Sturgis also hang from the walls here in a demonstration that abstract painting has a future as well as a recent past.
This may confound the widespread narrative that painting, like so many other forms of art, played out its endgame in the 20th century. But there are stones left unturned. And commitment to the forms of modernism may have outlived belief in its ideals.
This ambitious show with loans from around the world should provide ample chance to ponder such paradoxes. The Indiscipline of Painting will tour from Tate St Ives to the Mead Gallery, Coventry, in 2012.
- Open 10am-4.20pm Tuesday-Sunday. Admission £6.25/£3.75.