Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Emil Lukas at Sperone Westwater.

Pennsylvania based artist Emil Lukas suggests a body of work that engages in a vivid dialogue with the history of abstraction and minimalism.

Lukas puts together two bodies of work that after a first glance seem to have not much in common. But in the few things that connect his Thread and Larvae Paintings we can find the core element of Lukas's practice.
The thread paintings are a result of a process that seems to be an investigation of color, material and space. The artist gives us a very interesting take on image making, as he creates a powerful relation between the three dimensional presence of the threads, and the depth of the painting.
This relation between the object as a painting, and the object as a sculptural construction, is what makes me think of Lukas as part of a long history of minimalism.
The second body of paintings, the Larvae ones are created again by a very interesting technique. The artist dips threads into paint and then moves them over the canvas, organizing shapes that could never be formed by the human hand. The gray biomorphic result reintroduces a query about the role of chance and the authority of the artist in the end result.
Emil Lukas tackles in a contemporary manner issues inherently important to painting. His techniques and his attachment to his materials give an interesting voice to contemporary discourse about abstract art.

1 comment:

  1. I’m not so sure I would agree with the thread paintings occupying that space between painting and sculpture that the minimalists’ specific object type work was engaged in; or at the very least the success of Lukas’ attempt to create such an object. Aside from the physicality of the thread being thread, the paintings seem more engaged in the language of painting and the illusion of space than the presentness of the viewer.
    I also would be interesting to hear more about what you think about the relationship between the two bodies of work besides that they both engage in some lineage of artistic discourse. You seem to begin addressing the idea but your conclusion doesn’t seem very definitive. Finding out about the process for the larvae paintings is really interesting but it makes them seem even more opposed to the thread paintings, which makes me wonder even more what Lukas’ main engagement is with threads and the illusion of space created by these very different processes of layering.