Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting

March 7, 2020—January 23, 2021
East Building, Level B, Joyce W. Pope Gallery, North Carolina Museum of Art

Throughout modern art history, painting has been declared dead and later resuscitated so many times that the issue now tends to largely be ignored. Despite any debate over painting’s viability, artists continue to persevere in keeping the medium fresh and new. Currently painting is enjoying a revival in the art world, and innovative North Carolina artists are helping to maintain its vibrant place on the front burner.

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There has perhaps never been a time like the present for the tactile, human, and emotional nature of painting to shine. Amid the constant inundation of modern media, the act of painting itself can feel like an antidote to chaos, a way of slowing down and setting order to the precarious, disorienting environment around us. Similarly, audiences are asked to slow down and approach paintings with patience, critical thinking, and an open mind and heart.

Front Burner: Highlights in Contemporary North Carolina Painting features a sampling of some of the most relevant and engaging painting being made in the state. The exhibition presents 25 emerging, mid-career, and established artists working within a variety of mediums and ideas. In styles ranging from abstract to figurative and representational, these artists explore the endless possibilities of paint in unique, personal ways.

Brett Baker, Raleigh

Cynthia Bickley-Green, Greenville

Maria Britton, Carrboro

Mark Brown, Chapel Hill

Ashlynn Browning, Raleigh

Luke Miller Buchanan, Raleigh

Martha Clippinger, Durham

Hannah Cole, Asheville

Celia Johnson, Chapel Hill

Benjamin Knight, Deep Run

Ashley Lathe, Charlotte

Georges Le Chevallier, Garner

Juan Logan, Belmont

Gerry Lynch, Apex

Donald Martiny, Chapel Hill

Mario Marzan, Chapel Hill

George McKim, Raleigh

Bonnie Melton, Durham

Katy Mixon, Chapel Hill

Carmen Neely, Charlotte

Shaun Richards, Raleigh

Barbara Campbell Thomas, Climax

William Paul Thomas, Durham

Lien Truong, Chapel Hill

Antoine Williams, Greensboro

Lien Truong, I, Buffalo, 2017, acrylic, silk, fabric paint, antique gold-leaf obi thread, black salt and smoke on linen, 96 x 72 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Purchased with funds from the William R. Roberson Jr. and Frances M. Roberson Endowed Fund for North Carolina Art; © 2017 Lien Truong

Organized by guest curator Ashlynn Browning in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition was made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions.

The NCMA would like to thank the following individuals for their support of the Museum’s spring and summer 2020 exhibitions highlighting North Carolina artists:

Carole and Cloyce Anders
Ruth and Bill Barnett
Mary Charles and Robert Boyette 
Marion Johnson Church
Grubb Ventures
Carol and Rick McNeel

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