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Untitled no 5  









Review by Mary Anne Francis

Of late various exhibitions of painting have addressed the ways in which painters have continued to paint in the wake of decrees that painting must end. Including two sculptors, whose work is thought to set the parameters for the shows six painters, Chance, Choice and Irony is just such an exhibition. Like most of its kind it looks at the state of this art form as it has specifically survived the materialist critique. This line of attack, which has argued that painting is no longer tenable because it denies that its codes are conventional, particularly notes that gestures of ’pure self expression’ are no less conventional for their claims to the contrary. Painters materialist detractors contend that it still largely depends upon this language. With the word ‘choice’ in its title, Chance Choice and Irony allows for contemporary recourse to this language…………..

…… most artists regard the roles of choice and chance in their texts as fairly equal. Colin Crumplin’s two paintings offer the most pronounced  expression of this dialectic, his diptychs Cake and Nepenthes formally dramatising the exhibition’s epistemological dilemma. Half of each work comprises an all-over painting, produced by a ‘blind’ monochrome method, whereby the artist surrenders control of the paint as it is squished between folded canvas. The other half of the each diptych consists of a figurative representation of the title: Cake in post impressionist style, while the plant Nepenthes features in Richter style photorealism. In both pieces Crumpln sustains a profound ambivalence with two painterly traditions seemingly on offer simultaneously.

………….yet whatever the medium’s future Chance, Choice and Irony cogently suggests that painting today can be very much alive, if only to the dilemmas and difficulties that it faces.