Honor Fraser is pleased to present, The Pure Space Animate, Annie Lapin’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. In a new group of paintings on canvas, Lapin’s luscious, high-energy compositions comingle painterly conventions of representation with an obliterating gestural abstraction.
Lapin refers to ‘specters’ of realism that haunt the abstraction in these richly layered paintings. In The Pure Space Animate, there is less occasion for the multi-figure groups and enigmatic narratives of previous works, with further prominence shifted to the intensive formal activity. The coherent scenic space and figural focal points which remain are yet more densely encircled and perforated by painterly forces that counteract their legibility, leaving the viewing experience characteristically unstable. One seeks and temporarily sees indications of illusionistic space—a horizon line, a column, the shadow of a tree—only to find that it behaves instead the next moment as a collection of sinuous ribbons of paint bound to the surface. And it is this contrasting visual interpretation, this unresolved chord, that Lapin seeks to strike in the interest of a phenomenological experience of works as “constantly emerging” for the viewer.
Essential to the expressiveness in Lapin’s paintings is the articulation of space. The artist has developed a “palette” of elemental forces extracted from a lineage of painting and visual culture of her own devising. These sets of formal relationships—such as a lilting perspective or a characteristic distribution of masses across the picture plane—are isolated from their sources and given new life as structuring forces for Lapin’s paralinguistic figures and spaces. In particular, a number of the works in The Pure Space Animate submit compositional conventions from sensuous Rococo landscapes to the gravitational pull of the pure relations of abstract painting. There are passages where these raw forces interact independently without an object, so that in “The Shiny,” what appears to be the pattern of sunlight dappled on foliage suddenly bursts forth without foliage, or with the semblance of foliage only a specter in the finished painting. And in “The Glory Shapey Thing,” a distinctive low angle perspective, along with a collection of vibrant strokes of color, capture the elemental forces and majesty of an equestrian portrait, though with no horse or rider clearly visible.
Lapin’s practice is fueled by a philosophical inquisitiveness as well as a relationship with works from the history of art on the terms of their core formal expressions. Her investigations of the articulation of space have led to the production of paintings and installations which, while never at rest, are lacking neither in ordering nor chaotic accents. Ultimately these works promote an active viewing experience which rewards engagement and contemplation with painterly sensations resistant to closure; that are constantly emerging.
Annie Lapin received an MFA from UCLA and a BA from Yale University. Her museum exhibitions include the Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA; Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO. Her work has been exhibited at Honor Fraser, Angles Gallery, and LA Louver in Los Angeles, Galerie Lelong and Fredericks and Frasier in New York and Barbara Davis in Houston. Lapin will be included in an upcoming group show at the Torrance Art Museum and will have a solo show at Annarumma Gallery in Naples, Italy in the fall.
Modern Painters and Angeleno magazines have recently noted Lapin and her work as vital to the Los Angeles arts community, and she was the Editor’s Pick in New American Paintings, January 2011.
A catalogue will be published in conjunction with The Pure Space Animate.