Another day, another show pushing at the bounds of the definition of painting. That’s the job of contemporary painters, so don’t take it as a complaint. Material Abstraction, now up at Howard Yezerski Gallery, features four artists, some who don’t use paint at all, exploring the formal properties of abstract painting with such materials as plexiglass and 70 mm film. Carter Potter’s clever “Negative 6 (Landscape),” makes use of the latter. Potter’s 10 strips of shiny, translucent negatives feature shots of water meeting land, with frothy trees along the shore. The horizon line is a diagonal, and becomes more vertical with each frame. The repeating image is almost incidental; it serves the needs of a larger abstraction. Then there’s Ulrich Wellmann, who does use paint — above, he paints on a fogged plexiglass, which seems to contain the feathery brushstrokes of his “Painting (Yellow-green/Whitegreen)’’ as if it were an aquarium.
Also in this week’s galleries, a visit to “Boston Young Contemporaries,” which, as it is every summer, is sprawling and features too many large, operatic paintings. And, as it does every summer, it offers up some fresh surprises – including several terrific ceramic works by students from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, several works that play with ideas of scale, objecthood (is that a word?) and value, and some cheeky installations. Of the painters, one standout is Eunice Choi, whose “Potentiality” (above), coolly describes a post-apocalyptic landscape. “Boston Young Contemporaries” – always worth a visit.