Contemporary Art Market: Exhibition highlights new wave of painting 'unbound' for success

A RESURGENCE of interest in painting is flagged by the new exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, 'Unbound', aimed at demonstrating that the old-fashioned procedure of painting pictures is not dead - as some critics claim - but busy bursting boundaries and becoming something else. Collectors are buying these 'new' paintings, oils particularly, with enthusiasm.

Jessica Stockholder's multi-level installation starts on the ground floor and ends around the ceiling of the second, and incorporates a stack of old refrigerators, various bits of knitting, light and a splash of paint here and there. Museums in France, Germany and Austria have purchased her installations. Small, portable pieces can be had for between pounds 5,000 and pounds 10,000.

Other '30-somethings' in the show include Gary Hume, making layered images with house paint at pounds 7,000 a time; Peter Doig, who makes nearly realist adaptations of remembered movie shots - which are so popular that only one pounds 10,000 picture is left unsold; and Fiona Rae, who compiles her abstracts by making veiled references to bits and pieces of the world and other artists' styles - and sells through Waddington's (11 Cork St, W1) in the pounds 8,000 to pounds 20,000 range, depending on size.

The 'new' painting investigated by the Hayward show lays stress on process - the viewer needs to read up first on what the artist was trying to do. The references to be picked up from Doig's works, for instance, are not just movies, but Munch, Klimt, the National Geographic magazine, Joseph Conrad and Le Corbusier.

Jonathan Lasker, one of whose paintings is reproduced on the catalogue cover, makes no sense unless you know that he starts with doodles on paper which he painstakingly copies, on a larger scale, in oil on canvas - they cost dollars 45,000-dollars 60,000 ( pounds 30-40,000) from Sperone Westwater in New York, or the Todd Gallery (1-5 Needham Rd, W11), which is offering The Politics of Reality at dollars 30,000 ( pounds 20,000).

The Todd has mounted an exhibition, to coincide with the Hayward's, underlining the roles of 'chance, choice and irony'. It was curated by Colin Crumplin. He doodles in paint, looks for a shape that reminds him of something, then paints a realist image of it. He is showing a two-part work with red doodles on one side and the strawberry cake he was reminded of on the other ( pounds 4,000).

But it is the French artist, Bernard Frize, who steals the show at the Todd with a painting made by tying five paint brushes together, each dipped in a different coloured paint, and swirling them over the canvas ( pounds 15,000). The Chisenhale Gallery (64-84 Chisenhale Rd, E3) is currently showing a suite of eight large paintings he made with rollers (the kind used by house painters) in a succession of layers, each related to the last by varying the direction of the stroke by 45 degrees. The suite is priced at pounds 80,000 or pounds 10,000 a canvas.

At the Anthony Reynolds Gallery (5 Dering St, W1) a new suite of paintings by David Austen, 34, underlines the strength of the new market. He has been working on this suite of paintings, which are larger (56ins by 48ins) than anything he has previously tackled, for just over a year; five out of the six were sold before Reynolds had time to exhibit them; the latest, Puck, is priced at pounds 8,000.

(Photographs omitted)

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