Jon Thompson: the Lyotard Suite

London 18 September – 25 October 2014, Anthony Reynolds Gallery

By J.J. Charlesworth

Delay, 2014, acrylic and oil on canvas, 160 × 180 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London

If abstract painting currently gets a lot of positive attention in contemporary art, the flipside is that many of the tropes of abstraction are indulged without really being scrutinised, and consequently run the risk of becoming stylistic nostalgia. The ‘heroic’ moment of abstraction is long gone, and although senior figures like Bridget Riley still command respect, it’s easier for most to accept the sceptical squeegee-ing of a Gerhard Richter or a Christopher Wool, while young painters get plaudits for the slightest of chuck-it-at-the-canvas conceits. ‘Hard’,…

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