The Best of Painting 2017

When it comes to painting, one could say quality is a matter of taste. However, in interviewing artists over the years, we've come to realize that some talents are undeniable. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it. Here are the most inspiring painters from the year.

Nina Chanel Abney at Mary Boone and Jack Shainman “I follow the ethos of the street artist, so my work is in response to the community, its inhabitants and the physical surface that I work on,” she says.

Katharina Grosse at Gagosian “Painting is an interesting activity because you think and act at the same time. And as you change your thoughts, you constantly have to readjust your process—and the picture.”

Njideka Akunyili Crosby at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center "I’m trying to make work that samples from the different languages of image-making: I’m trying to use collage, printmaking, drawing, and painting seamlessly, and make works that reference all of those but aren’t any one of those."

Derrick Adams at UTA Artist Space “I don’t think we see it enough, especially in times of protest. You have to also have moments of reflections, relaxation and regrouping. If anything I want to create aspirational images because that’s what most people want to see.”

Loie Hollowell at Pace Gallery “I want the viewer to not have to deal with that content if they don’t want to. These are about painting concerns, and now, very basic sculptural concerns… but the impetus is from something very personal. It still comes from my body.”

Celeste Dupuy-Spencer at Marlborough Contemporary "For us here living in L.A., if we don’t have the impulse to look into war or read about it, we could go through our entire lives here and really just never think about it. And that’s sort of wonderful but the fact is we’re Americans, and I feel like we need to remember that we’re a brutal, terrorist country.”

Henry Taylor at Galerie Eva Presenhuber "I think I just hunt and gather. I feel sort of voracious. I just think about my son, I have kids, and my parents are from the South, and I would hear things—my grandfather was shot and killed—so I’m just documenting things, and I’m saying, ‘Damn, this shit ain’t stopped.’ So I’m just shocked. Sometimes I just want to repress it and I never thought I’d have to tell my son, you know, ‘Well, son you were called a n—.’ There are certain things I endured that I didn’t think my son would have to endure. But we’re still having to go through these things, and I guess I’m just a little appalled that this shit is still happening. You know?"

Koak at Maw Gallery “A lot of people think I’m a guy because of it and because I draw women the way I do. But my name is Kristin Anna Olson Katz.”

Jordan Casteel at Casey Kaplan “The moments I feel the most at peace are the days when I am able to be in the studio and contribute a vision of blackness in opposition to the one many have been systematically taught to believe. My paintings function almost like a diary documenting the communities I have had the privilege of knowing.”

Raymond Pettibon at New Museum “Many artists get to a certain comfort level with their work. And they stay there forever. Every time I start a new work, it’s starting from the beginning.”