This article takes as its point of departure the question whether, in an age when "artforms" such as multimedia "installations" - which combine visual motifs of all kinds with written texts - seem to be an adequate reflection of an overwhelmingly complex postmodern world, painting still has a right to exist as a distinct art. It is argued that this is indeed the case, and that the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty provides ample material to substantiate this claim. Briefly, this entails the latter's insight concerning the "perceptual dialogue" between painter and visible world, a dialogue which manifests itself in an evolving "style" - or a "coherent deformation" of visual norms - on the part of the painter. Significantly, this presupposes the ambiguity of the visible realm - an ambiguity that is appropriated in one direction or another by the painter's ongoing (equally visible) interpretation of the visually given world. The article concludes with a consideration of the work of a number of postmodern artists in the light of the guiding question, whether their art, as responses to a bewilderingly complex world, may be understood as the outcome of what Merleau-Ponty identifies as the "perceptual dialogue" between artist and world.