Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce Annie Lapin: Watchers and Winks, on view November 5 through December 16, 2016. A reception will be held at the gallery on November 5 from 6–8pm.
Watchers and Winks is Annie Lapin’s third exhibition with Honor Fraser Gallery. Though still connected to her prior investigations into landscape, perception and cognition, and the materials of painting, Lapin’s new paintings constitute a significant departure in her method of working and reworking each canvas. Her compositional deliberations coalesce into a series of evocative, otherworldly spaces that involve a multifaceted combination of poured stains, digital deconstruction and augmentation, and a broad range of other techniques. Incorporating both chance effects and purposeful marks, Lapin’s resulting environments record her concerted efforts to picture the processes of perception and cognition.
To create the initial frameworks of her new paintings, Lapin pours charcoal-infused washes onto each canvas, letting them spill and pool into organic forms. She then works amongst the pours’ accidental outlines, reentering them to build up arrangements of distinct shapes and planes. These varied passages include an array of textures, from raw canvas, velvety brushstrokes, and silkscreen overlays to powdered pigments, gold leaf, and wooly fibers. Their multiplicity stems, in part, from Lapin’s turn to Photoshop as a tool to imagine hundreds of potential permutations for each composition before determining its final state. Though she translates her painterly effects back onto the canvas using traditional, analog techniques, many bare the trace of their digital origins. In I/M Possible Light, a rich, evenly diffused spray of ultramarine blue recalls Photoshop’s airbrush function; part of a pale pink field seems wiped away by Photoshop’s Eraser Tool; and painted gradients and trompe l’oeil drop-shadows speak in the same cut-and-paste language of design software. Lapin moves willfully between an aura of hyper-real digital space and a grounded, earthly physicality in an effort to destabilize viewers, leaving them to hover in a state of irresolution as to what they are witnessing.
Though the collage-like facets in Lapin’s new paintings seem to drift amongst each other, often floating in an atmospheric ether, they also form coherent units with a distinct sense of foreground and background. One can imagine entering these works physically, delving into their unlikely worlds to touch their textures and inhabit their architectures. These spaces are conceived as manifestations of how the mind operates in the realm of dreams, where it adheres to a logic unbound by reality: Synaptic firings in the mind lead to images that make little sense once awake, yet while immersed in dreams, we believe wholeheartedly in their strange, flowing reasoning. Lapin repeats visual cues from one canvas to the next—identical slivers of sky, the dappled streak of a paint roller, galaxies and forested views—offering connective tissues between these worlds, while also acknowledging the tenuousness with which each element finds meaning in any one painting.
Vague bodily figures populate Lapin’s abstracted spaces, giving each a sense of action, reaction, and movement. The charcoal pours in Watchers and Winks take on the unmistakable guise of human profiles, and outlines of legs appear on the shores of a peach-toned seascape. An imprint in the upper right—a silkscreened image of Lapin’s face, pressed to distortion—inserts a record of the artist’s own body. These and other morphing objects function like characters and props on a bizarre stage set—a performative setting that A Play dramatizes with its roughly outlined curtain and play of spotlights and shadows.
Lapin’s works ultimately offer a logic that remains abstract, arcane, and just out of reach. Though she has rendered her painted worlds with careful precision, they nevertheless exude a palpable sense of mystery and possibility, as well as a reminder to be prepared, at any moment, for the ground to shift beneath our feet.
Annie Lapin was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Los Angeles. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 2001; a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004; and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. One-person exhibitions of Lapin’s work have been presented at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC (2013); Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA (2012); Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA (2009); and Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (2008). Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as Her Crowd: New Art by Women from Our Neighbors’ Private Collections, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT (2016); Sincerely Yours, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2015); The Go-Between, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy (2014); Chasm of the Supernova, Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA (2012); La Californie, The Museum of Public Fiction, Los Angeles, CA (2011); Baker’s Dozen III, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2011); Unfinished Paintings, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and NewNow, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (2009). Lapin was the recipient of the Falk Visiting Artist Reward from the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC in 2013.