September 5 - October 10, 2015
Reception: Saturday, September 12, 5-7PM
Craig Krull Gallery is pleased to present Caroline Larsen’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, Vacation Views. Like Ed Ruscha, David Hockney, and Carlos Almaraz, Larsen is not a native Angeleno, but her paintings exalt the iconic symbols of California culture, such as palm trees, bungalows, and swimming pools. “Before settling in New York,” she remembers, “we would visit LA at least twice a year. The landscape, climate and architecture are so unlike the places where I was raised, Toronto and Sarasota.” Her ardent memories of Southern California are manifested in these intensely constructed, brilliantly colored, Van Gogh tableaux. Rather than applying the paint solely with a brush, she squeezes and weaves the paint; building a surface that extrudes the succulents, stucco walls, and even the sky, into our space. Larsen plays with the paint until it is more than just the image it's describing; thick lines on cacti are oozing spaghetti, and tiny threads on crawling ivy become tangled silly string. Larsen's treatment of her surfaces playfully reminds us that her paintings are first and foremost objects, which are materializations of her visual recollections. “These paintings were made on the East Coast with the idea of LA in mind, and they are now returning to the source of their inspiration.”
The exhibition will also feature Larsen’s expansive, panoramic, 10 foot-long mountainscape triptychs. Woven entirely with thick single pigments squeezed like frosting, the paintings deconstruct, like they are built out of pixels, but also employ the optical mix of color, like Pointillism. Perhaps the greatest impression one has when looking at these paintings, however, is that they appear to be woven tapestries. Though the reference to tapestries was originally unintentional, Larsen now looks “to textiles and embroidery for inspiration. My mother is a seamstress, and our home was always filled with beautiful tablecloths and pillows.” Her robust oranges, magentas and blues also recall Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s vibrant mountain paintings of Davos, Switzerland. Larsen’s paintings are a mirage, elusive but tangible, where the colors reflect each other and the mountains shimmer in the distance.
Concurrently, the gallery will present another West Coast premiere, Joy Taylor’s exhibition, Strange Beauty. Taylor’s still lifes explore her desire to reduce an image to the “essentials” of beauty. Her flowers and vases are crisply defined, flattened, and attenuated. Tiny Calder leaves delicately balance above pinched and stretched flowers from early Miró farms. And her bananas, a consistent subject, protrude, twist and dance in phallic merriment. The long history of still life painting abounds in metaphors for life and death. Taylor’s bananas are both spotted in black decay as well as perfectly yellow, and her drooping flowers stand alongside their younger companions. She paints every object on her perfectly smooth surfaces with an equal amount of detail and care. As she says, “the beauty of the world is its inner strangeness.”