Museums + Galleries

"Painter Painter" at Walker Art Center

Painter Painter takes a fresh look at the practice and preoccupations of abstract painters.

Courtesy Artist and Stuart Shave London
Not Just Paint — Katy Moran’s work, Joe’s in Town, uses paper and leather in addition to paint.

The last time the Walker put on a group exhibition about painting, the world was a decidedly different place. When Painting at the Edge of the World opened in early 2001, the extroverted, expansive tendencies of Takashi Murakami were ascendant. Artists were trying to break free from the confines of the canvas and extend their practice beyond the studio. That’s not necessarily so today.

Painter Painter, a show curated by Eric Crosby and Bartholomew Ryan opening at the Walker Art Center, leaps boldly into the present zeitgeist of abstract painting, paying special attention to the way the artists work. And, as it turns out, many of today’s painters have rediscovered their love for the studio.

Crosby describes the exhibition as “a snapshot of their studio practice at this moment.” The artists are connected by affinities in their approach to painting rather than a shared stylistic or conceptual posture. With new work by more than a dozen emerging artists, Painter Painter reveals a more introspective mood focusing on “the space of the studio, the materials at hand, and painting’s minor histories.”

The show has a decidedly intellectual framework, since it is difficult to connect an abstract painting on a gallery wall with an artist’s actual practice and thought processes. So rather than rely solely on a catalog to fill in the blanks, Crosby and Ryan have extended the exhibition into virtual space with a series of interviews and blog posts—Painter Painter Studio Sessions—that shed some light on the artists’ “creative process, thinking, and obsessions.” Opens Feb. 2. Walker Art Center, 612-375-7600,