New York

Lois Lane

Barbara Toll Gallery

New Image painting is surely among the vaguest rubrics ever applied to 20th-century art. Isn’t any reenvisioned, reinterpreted, recast, or reseen image, by reasonable definition, “new”? The term was coined in the mid ’70s to call attention to a resurgence of figurative painting among younger artists, during a period otherwise dominated by various antimaterial tendencies, and it is in this context, if perhaps none other, that the label had some meaning. The laconic flavors of New Image painting, for instance, were distilled from Pop (and seemed to have affinities with the “minimalist” fiction of writers such as Ann Beattie and Donald Barthelme), its emphasis on process was the residue of the Conceptualism that preceded it, and its more sensuous textures were part of the Expressionist legacy.

New Image, in short, meant a hipper strain of home-style traditionalism in American painting, a sort

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