The Painting Center is pleased to present New Optics, a curated exhibition whose fundamental ambition is to engage material and images to create transformational moments. Curators Jack McWhorter, Lisa Mintz, and Perri Neri chose 16 artists from the Painting Center’s Art File whose work generates a dialogue with painting that is more than self-expression. This work challenges us to think about our contemporary condition today, and about contemporary art’s relation to it.

There is no doubt a volatile multiplicity to the big picture term “contemporary.” This exhibition, with its faceted fabrication and materiality, recognizes the many ways of being, right now, at the same time with others. The sixteen artists selected to bring their work into the conversation use a miscellany of practices from the formal to the mystical.

Altered environments and are at once in a state of flux, reductive, and structured. Quirky forms share common visual motifs yet offer distinct perspectives. Analogous gestures that vary in effect speak to the neon-colored splashes and meditative hash marks. The treatment of surface that turns paint and wax into sculptural contemplative relief bring a curious point of view to the proverbial dinner table.

New Optics artists are Matthew Choberka, Geoffrey Detrani, Diane Englander, Leslie Ford, Deborah Freedman, Marilyn Gold, Mary Hughes, Iris Kufert-Rivo, Kellie Lehr, George McKim, Jean Rim, Nichole Gronvold Roller, Masha Ryskin, Liz Rundorff Smith, Amy Vensel, and Leigh Yardley.