March 17 - May 14, 2016
Lauren Luloff makes soft paintings that seem to change with the wind and light. At the same time movement is frozen as if the world stopped mid-step.
The supports are typical: cross braces of pine and with ordinary hardware. However, Luloff invites us to see these things. The paintings refer back to themselves, always pointing out their “painting-ness”. The surfaces range from opaque to transparent creating shifting planes of perception and pictorial organization. Often Luloff creates drawings of plants, patterns and figures with bleach on cloth. She then cuts them up and reconfigures them into something like stretched collages.
The scale of the paintings varies from monumental to portrait size, as if Luloff is expanding or contracting the same view in a camera lens. Each painting delivers an initial punch, a potent image, but over time they reveal hazy atmosphere and a second or third possibility of imagery to the viewer.
Luloff’s practice is not derived from any particular orthodoxy or tradition of American painting. Her practice does seem rooted in the “live-work” tradition of New York City. An informal custom of artists who seem drawn to large industrial loft spaces first in downtown Manhattan then Brooklyn and beyond as genritifciation gradually pushed artists away from the center. These spaces pushed the Abstract Expressionist painters and Pop Artists from their easels into monumental scale. This scale is often found in Luloff’s work, the scale of the loft.
It may be not readily available to most viewers, but Luloff has a deep relationship with her loft space in Bushwick Brooklyn. Luloff had made this space the heart of her practice for the past 10 years. She grows plants, has large windows that face rumbling elevated subway tracks, fabrics are stacked on rustic shelves and a wood shop is rigged up behind some curtains. And after working Luloff drifts to an adjacent improvised living space; a piano, a jury-rigged bathtub and a slop sink kitchen become the domestic. In Luloff’s paintings we see the comforts and familiarity of home lifted and placed directly into her paintings.
Luloff expands and stretches the meanings in her work by combining a vernacular of the everyday with structures of modernist abstraction. The complexity of the abstract planes in her paintings, the patterns, and tensions of edge and weight play out across the surface of each painting. Ultimately, the weightlessness and grounded quality takes each painting further; a place that is distinctly belongs to Luloff.
Ceysson & Bénétière