To mark the end of our 10th anniversary celebrations the MAC will present a major exhibition of new painting and establish an open forum for conversation and debate around painting practices locally, nationally, and internationally.
With art theorists and curators appearing to have fallen in love with painting again, and the critical debates around representation versus abstraction having dissolved, it seems that painters have re-asserted their relevance within our increasingly image-saturated society. Using Thomas Lawson’s seminal 1981 Artforum essay, Last Exit: Painting, as an important touchstone for our exhibition, it could be said that the intervening 40 years have seen a constant ebb and flow in painting’s popularity and relevance, with the tide firmly back in its favour.
New Exits whilst set within the context of the many significant painting exhibitions the MAC has presented since its inception, is primarily an opportunity to draw attention to and celebrate the painting practices that have emerged and continue to flourish through the work of graduates of the BA and MFA Fine Art courses at Belfast School of Art since 2012.
The exhibition acknowledges the close relationship and interdependencies of the Belfast School of Art and the MAC and how our proximity to each other has informed our work and contributed to our understanding of what it means to be a contemporary painter today. Why do painters and audiences persist in engaging with this form of art making, and is it important any longer for the specifics of the medium, and the motivations of painters themselves, to be examined?
Curated by Dougal McKenzie & Hugh Mulholland