new-york

Matvey Levenstein

Jack Tilton Gallery

Matvey Levenstein’s photo-based paintings address the perennial rivalry between painting and photography in contemporary art, which seems on the surface to have been decided in favor of photography. Who needs the hand of the painter when one can have a machine do the job? Yet if we look less for the truth in appearances, which photography supposedly mediates, than for an imaginative, insightful attitude to them, optimally communicated through the medium itself and presumably implicit in the instruments used to bring it to artistic life, the hand, with its built-in, agile insight, is far more supple than the camera. We never forget the “touch” of a consummate painter—it seems inimitably his or hers—but we readily divorce a photographer’s “vision” from his lens, for it seems easy to imitate once it has been realized, all the more so because of the folk belief that anyone can learn to use a

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