Coast to Coast, Abstraction Rules: Top Ten Painting Shows in the U.S.

It is another extraordinary month for painting in the United States. After reviewing current and upcoming exhibitions at commercial galleries throughout the country, I was impressed with the diversity of aesthetic viewpoints on display.

If any trend in painting is detectable right now it is the resurgence of abstraction. Emerging artists such as Joe Bradley, Richard Aldrich, Jacob Kassay and Josh Smith, all of whom embrace abstraction to varying degrees, have garnered a tremendous amount of critical attention for work that paradoxically reinvigorates the activity of painting and questions its essence. For me, the most satisfying byproduct of the current trend is that after years of producing serious bodies of work, artists such as Thomas Nozkowski and Mary Heilmann have finally found the wide-spread attention that their work deserves.

Of the more than 150 painting exhibitions that I reviewed this month, close to one-third were dedicated to abstraction. Work on view ranges from James Siena's intensely wrought and intimately-scaled panels to Analia Saban's boundary pushing assaults of the picture plane. The late Kenneth Noland's exhibition at Mitchell-Innes and Nash in New York City is a poetic example of how the basic elements of painting - color and form - can generate not only visual pleasure, but significant content.

For a comprehensive list of Must See Painting Shows in April, please visit the New American Paintings/Blog.

Top Ten Painting Shows in the U.S.: April 2011

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