Who is the most significant painter to emerge since 2000? (Poll)

So you don’t believe in miracles? Think about this: Painting has been pronounced clinically dead dozens of times, and, like Lazarus, it keeps coming back for more. It is the medium that simply refuses to die.

The 1990s were a tough decade for painting, as video, installation, and, in particular, photography, relegated it to the margins of the art world’s often too narrow field of vision. But as the 2000s began, the oldest of mediums returned with a vengeance. Impressively, it has continued to be the dominant medium for more than a decade, first with an explosion of figurative work in the early 2000s, and now with an extreme focus on abstraction.

Topics like this often start as debates in the New American Paintings office, and thanks to the blog, we can "take it to the streets" and settle some scores...There are a number of significant artists who have emerged since 2000, and we want to know which ones you think are the most significant. We consciously avoided artists who already had long careers, but have only recently “blown up”: Luc Tuymans, Amy Sillman, Mary Heilmann, Glenn Ligon and Thomas Nozkowski, among them.

We want to hear from you! The twelve painters listed below do not constitute an all-inclusive list, so feel free to add any names that you think we have missed in the comments section below.

Here is our list, and be sure to learn more about each and vote after the jump!

Richard Aldrich
Tauba Auerbach
Mark Bradford
Joe Bradley
Nicole Eisenman
Mark Grotjahn
Wade Guyton
Chris Martin
Julie Mehretu
R.H. Quaytman
Sterling Ruby
Dana Schutz

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More About the Artists:

Richard Aldrich:
In 2009, art critic Raphael Rubinstein published a highly influential article in Art in America titled: “Provisional Painting.” In it, he addressed the tendency of an increasing number of painters to produce “works that look casual, dashed-off, tentative, unfinished or self-cancelling.” Aldrich is in the thick of the dialog surrounding this type of painting. In a relatively short amount of time, he has produced a significant body of work that has led to a solo show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and inclusion in the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

Tauba Auerbach:
Process is a major issue in current painting practice. As collectors and curators began to take serious interest in the work of artists such as Albert Oehlen and Christopher Wool in the late 1990s, a younger generation of artists also took notice. Auerbach emerged with a bang after her solo debut at Deitch Projects in 2006. Her work relentlessly questions flatness, three-dimensionality, and the space – both physical and conceptual – that lies in between the two.

Mark Bradford:
Since graduating from the California Institute of the Arts in 1997, Bradford has been on a roll. To produce his large-scale paintings/collages, Bradford utilizes found objects that he scavenges from the street. The finished works address a range of issues, both personal and universal. Since the mid-2000s, Bradford’s work has been exhibited widely, including solo shows at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and The Whitney Museum of American Art.

Joe Bradley:
Bradley is nothing if not mercurial. There was already a lot of buzz about Bradley, but his appearance in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, where he showed his “robot paintings,” pushed things into overdrive. After being nurtured by the scrappy Canada gallery in New York for several years, Bradley has gone on to have representation from Gavin Brown, Eva Presenhuber and Javier Peres – three of the hottest galleries in the planet. Just when collectors were getting crazy for his “robots,” Bradley took a left turn and presented his spare and off beat “Schmagoo” paintings that seemed to come from a different artist entirely. 2011 saw simultaneous solo shows at Canada, where he presented his “Egyptian” paintings and Gavin Brown’s, where he presented “Foot and Mouth” paintings.

Nicole Eisenman:
To say that Eisenman has emerged since 2000 might be stretch, after all she was included in Klaus Kertess’ much loved 2005 Whitney Biennial. But it was really in the early 2000s, with the explosion of interest in figurative painting, that her work came to wide attention. Eisenman is an extraordinary draughtsman, whose psychologically probing body of work places her among the great figurative painters of her generation. She was just included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial.

Wade Guyton:
Guyton is another artist who is deeply vested in process. Using Epson inkjet printers and flatbed scanners, he has developed a unique pictorial vocabulary, of which the color black and the letter X are signature motifs. His evolving body of work evidences a constant struggle between the machine-made and the handmade. Guyton is also involved in a highly regarded collaboration with his longtime friend, Kelley Walker.

Mark Grotjahn:
Grotjahn’s pictorial language was being formed in the 1990s. Since 2000, his “Butterfly” paintings have become one of the best-known bodies of work by any living artist, and in 2006 he was the focus of a solo show at The Whitney Museum of American Art. Grotjahn’s work draws from art history, in particular Renaissance perspectival techniques, but it is the careful balance of the rigorous systems he explores and intuitive process that makes his work great. In recent years, Grotjahn has introduced his “Face Paintings,” which are compositionally based on simple forms, but aggressively built layer upon layer.

Chris Martin:
Martin is another artist who, it can be argued, may have emerged before 2000; after all, his work has been frequently exhibited since the late 1980s. Until recently though, Martin was really an artist’s artist. As abstract painting began to (re)gain traction after 2005, Martin’s suddenly seemed very much of its time. His work is often related to that of artists such as Raul de Keyser, Thomas Nozkowski, Andrew Masullo and Mary Heilmann – all artists who are deeply involved with form and color – but Martin literally takes things to an entirely different scale with his massive canvases. He is also completely fearless when it comes to the materials he uses, such as glitter and bread.  His affiliation with Mitchell-Innes and Nash has quickly catapulted him to the forefront of his generation of painters, and led to a 2011 solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Julie Mehretu:
Mehretu emerged right after 2000 and has since become one of the most respected artists of her generation. He large, and highly complex paintings draw from architecture, mapping, calligraphy and a host of other sources. For many, she is responsible for developing an entirely new compositional strategy – let’s call it the “this is completely out of control, but somehow not” strategy – that legions of younger artists have emulated. Her resume is extensive, and includes a 2010 solo exhibition at the Guggenheim.

R.H. Quaytman:
When your father is Harvey Quaytman, there is a good chance that you will have some artistic chops. Quaytman was a bit of a slow burn though. After completing her formal training in the 1980s, and showing sporadically during the 1990s, Quaytman began to gain attention with the exhibition of “Chapter 1: The Sun” in 2001, and really took off after her 2008 exhibition at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York. Quaytman makes, intimate, highly philosophical works that are visually alluring and conceptually deep. Like other artists in this poll, she is very involved with process.

Sterling Ruby:
Like some of the other artists in this poll, Ruby works with a variety of media, although painting is central to his process. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, Ruby’s multi-disciplinary approach has led Roberta Smith to call him “one of the most interesting artists to emerge this century.” Spray paint is Ruby’s primary medium when it some to painting, and, to some extent, he is responsible for domesticating a medium that was long considered to belong on the street. For a young artist, his exhibition record is massive, although he recently parted ways with Pace Gallery.

Dana Schutz:
Schutz is the poster girl for the explosion of interest in figurative painting that occurred in the early 2000s. She graduated from Columbia University in 2002, and her career quickly took off, after a show at LFL Gallery (now Zach Feuer), which garnered rave reviews from the likes of Jerry Saltz. By 2006, Schutz had a full museum show at the Rose Art Museum, which traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, and her large painting, “Presentation,” was on display at MOMA. She is a fearless colorist, whose paintings speak equally about contemporary experience and their own facture. Her influence on a youb=nger generation of artists cannot be overstated.


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