Lauren Olitski - Painting from Nature
"Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing sensations."
- Paul Cézanne
Dates of Exhibit: May 28 - June 28, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 28, 5 - 8pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, June 14, 5 - 7pm
Petria Mitchell & Jim Giddings
To understand Lauren Olitski's recent paintings, perhaps we should travel to a place where familiar art-world jargon is repurposed to fit the cosmic and elemental forces which burst across her canvases, for certainly her latest body of work, "Painting from Nature," removes us from a landscape of trees or oceans or objects. This isn't new in the art world, but it's the way she crafts her pieces, seemingly out of molten earth and chemical colors, pooling or troweling this mix atop broad fields of different hues, that leaves us amazed at the power of such visual extravagance. Geological forces have pushed their way to prominence in volcanic-like surfaces, with cratered shapes and flowing patches boiling up and cooling, arrested at last. Lauren's passion for surface and her masterful infusion of organic elements (garnet, pumice, and molding paste) into the plastic, inorganic acrylic gels and paints gives her work a rare visceral authenticity.
In Fits and Starts intense blues and yellows are thrown or plopped down, floating unmixed over the background of brushstrokes, scumbles, and drips below. In 1981 the blues paradoxically pop to the front as the warm browns and reds recede. Imagine laying a loose grid of drips and lines onto a seven foot canvas, choosing and applying pumice, paste, glossy gels and colors, organizing, sculpting, mixing, balancing, adding, removing, deciding -- standing in front of More Things In Heaven one appreciates this act of painting and the control Lauren commands.
Lauren has constructed a new world of beautiful, brash, gaudy, and complex paintings. That they fit into our world is a testament to her talent and ability to work in novel and surprising ways. She doesn't capture moments in time as a more "traditional" painter might, so what we experience isn't a shared occasion or collective vision. She's not dusting off or uncovering hidden content; with intuition and hard work she creates -- constructs -- unique objects which never existed until she laid down her tools and declared, "It's done. Here it is."