Orphans of Painting II is an exhibition of international artists who may identify first and foremost as painters but expand their practice into other formal registers creating hybridized art forms somewhat disparate from their primary medium. Evincing this is the painter Robert Costello’s Integrated and Upstaged (2017), which is a diptych on a cart-like structure on wheels. This work raising many interesting formal questions including: is it a painting or a sculpture or something in between? And furthermore, since it’s on wheels and mobile there is a performative component to Integrated and Upstaged. This latter aspect manifests in its potential shifting around the exhibition space as well as allowing the viewer to act like a curator by moving it around, however he/she sees fit, in relationship to the other works in the exhibition.
In contrast are other artists in the exhibition who are not painters and yet their work conceptually veers towards painting but from another formal point of departure. Exemplary of this is Kay Rosen’s video titled Blue Monday (2015). Known for her text-based works and installations, Rosen’s contribution underscores language’s imagistic quality or in this case the video’s title alluding to music via synesthesia while underscoring the monochrome’s capacity to evoke emotion; e.g. green with envy, red with anger, etc.
The subject matter in the individual works that comprise Orphans of Painting II may be topical, historical, or personal, but what unifies them is a politics of form, specifically usurping the rhetoric of medium specificity and in the process extending painting into different areas as well as its retrieval by other media including sculpture, photography, video, performance and installation. In doing so, the artworks embody well what is poetically referred to in the exhibition’s title; that is to say, they are artistic orphans of sorts with an ostensibly corrupted and mongrel pedigree, but nothing that can be identified as being singularly derived from easel and canvas.