Art review: Painting Now: Five Contemporary Artists, London

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TATE Britain’s new show is a concise, and in some ways modest, view of five very different British-based artists.

Tate Britain

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Lucy McKenzie does painstaking paintings of marble surfaces or of cork boards such as Quodlibet XXII (Nazism), where she creates the illusion of ideologically loaded items pinned to boards.

The small but brilliant paintings of Tomma Abts are the result of a slow rumination, in which the canvas is the stage for painterly improvisation.

Both Gillian Carnegie and Catherine Story make quiet, muted and enigmatic paintings; Carnegie’s feature staircases with black cats, or a cityscape, while Story paints objects that look like sculptures or ceramics, hinting at animals or buildings.

Simon Ling’s wonky studio paintings and paintings made on the Shoreditch streets are a delight. They reflect a painter immersed in his medium exploring the world around and within him. He and Abts in particular show that painting can do something no other media can do — and that’s why it remains a vital activity.

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