Colleen BarryTearz, 61 × 40,6 cm, 2020.
Photo : permission de l’artiste | courtesy of the artist

Narrative Bodies and Intimacy in Contemporary Figurative Painting

Sûrya Buis
The return of painting heralded periodically for the past decade has generally glossed over figurative painting, with the debate being driven mostly by a taste for innovation and hybridity. Yet this traditional practice does not appear to have been abandoned: its receptive ductility, which ensures a reflexive exchange between viewer and representation, has always inspired artists.

Today, figurative painting does not necessarily seem to offer itself up for renewal: references to past and present may be combined to create heterochronic compositions that, in a logic of continuity, elicit an affective rather than intellectual reception. Following this perspective, does the interest in figurative painting indicate a genuine revival or a simple aesthetic choice that has always existed, capable of conveying the emotional essence of a work? By examining the work of three contemporary classical painters, I will analyze the elements that create this emotional encounter.

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This article also appears in the issue 102 - (Re)seeing Painting

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