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Film, Two-Dimensional Images and the Structural Use of Color by Liz Larner at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Installation view. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York. Photo: Jean Vong.
NEW YORK, NY.- Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presents the gallery’s first exhibition of work by Liz Larner. Bringing film, two-dimensional images and the structural use of color to bear on sculptural expression, Larner’s work demonstrates an innovative approach to the centrality of form. The artist presents an atmosphere that allows significance to arise from abstract relationships. Larner uses color to modify and reinvent, rather than reinforce the sculptural form. In this exhibition, Michelangelo Antonioni's first color film, Red Desert, (1964) is taken as a point of departure, as themes from the film are readdressed and reconsidered. Lines and hues create separate illusions, as color and shape express themselves poetically and contribute to the emotional aspects of the works. The sculptures are subversive and sublime - they expand the possibilities of three-dimensional form as well as bring into focus the means by which this expansion is achieved.

Larner’s wall-mounted sculpture, Blue and Green, takes its name from Antonioni’s initial title for Red Desert. Organic forms in porcelain are painted in pure seascape colors of blues and greens, surrounded by reds and darker colors. At the same time, Larner addresses the wall and allows the sculpture to become greater than its technical mass by painting the back of the work; as colors bounce off the white wall, the reflection lends an otherworldly halo.

Her use of color on ceramic is further demonstrated in the works Lentous Rust, made of epoxy and ceramic, along with Disembogue, Transpicuous Brume, and Volitant Solids. Larner’s sculptures maintain a poetic relationship with the film - both present notions of real versus unreal through material and color. Larner uses the film’s palette; eg. mustard colored smoke and clothing, purple skies, hallucinations and painted trees in a new work made to literally engage the ceiling, walls and floors of the gallery. The color variations in the exhibition shift and transform the objects and gallery space. In Planchette, a shimmering surface of dark blue on a gentle, undulating rectangular shape seems to float in front of the wall. The surface space is indeterminate from a distance much like a shot into fog with a telephoto lens.

In a delicate but vibrant group of works on tissue paper, color is presented directly, as Larner paints the paper in bright, bursting tones. The fragility of the medium creates a sensual effect, contrasting strength of colors with the seeming fragility of tissue.

For this exhibition the artist presents smile (alluvium), the most recent in her ongoing smile series. A shiny, faceted upturned arc is placed upon a pool of darkness, formed by a pile of ceramic shards in black. Hints of color rise up, as though emerging from the depths. The reflective black surface is beautiful, but also concealing, ominous, and viscous.

In 6, Larner’s signature use of line and open form has an animated quality of movement and a delicate balance between illusion and reality. Color serves not to reinforce the form but to extend it. This sculpture examines the theme without visual trickery; what we see is real, though enhanced by the nature of the piece’s structure and color. Moving around the artwork while physical reality re-establishes itself, the viewer must renegotiate and grasp the work anew as perceptions are challenged and reconfigured.

Based in Los Angeles, Larner's work is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, UCLA Hammer Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Whitney Museum, NY, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC, among others. She has exhibited as part of the Whitney Biennial, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, SFMoMA, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and The MAK in Vienna Austria, among others.

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