In simplest terms BIG PICTURE is just that, a show of big pictures. The pictures – all paintings – are big in terms of size, subject matter, energy, ambition and visual generosity. Many are aggressive or even garish in the color, they are often over worked, heavy layer upon layer of paint, combining dissonant styles and subject matter. These paintings are big in that there is a hell of a lot to look at. Some of the pictures are so big in scope that they seem unresolved, open ended, too big for the canvas they are on.
We (Schneider & Sanford) organized this show to make a case for a young generation of New York picture-making painters who have emerged over the past decade. We asked each of 19 painters that we invited for one big picture that would serve as a strong argument for that artist’s position. Ostensibly, these paintings vary widely and wildly in style, subject matter, and point of view. However, when we look at the show, we like to view it in terms of the big picture.
These are all painters who make pictures of things, in that they all refer to the culture at large; their paintings are about painting, but they are about other things as well. The pictures deal with the biggest of universal themes, like Love, Sex and Death. The big subject matter is often juxtaposed with more idiosyncratic information about subculture or the extremely personal, political or emotional. These are painters of a generation to whom irony and collage-like juxtapositions are second nature, where high/low cultural distinctions are meaningless, to whom technology allows access to every image that has ever been seen or even imagined. These are painters who take advantage of the vastness of their surroundings, the open-endedness of their culture, and this Big Picture is reflected back in their work.