Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lichtenstein @ Venture Compound.

All work by John Lichtenstein.

At the Venture Compound, one doesn't talk up their credentials or do it by whipping out a card, diploma or clippings, but by performing. Their press releases often good-naturedly taunt their audience and the one for this show is no exception: "So, you call yourself an artist? How much work have you finished (not just started or talked about starting) in the past year? How ’bout the past five years? John Lichtenstein has made over 250 paintings this year and he hasn’t stopped yet. I’m sure that BFA in oil painting looks really good framed on your wall, but you know what would look better on your wall? Art that you continued to make after you graduated. And sure, you have those four paintings you cart around to different galleries on Central Ave and they are all really good, but you don’t have shit on John Lichtenstein. Since you’re going to be lazy and complacent, you might as well come and see Lichtenstein’s one man show at the Venture Compound on October 25th. Hell, you could even buy some of his art and hang it next to that exorbitantly expensive degree you have."

All work by Lichtenstein.

Numbers. More than one painting a day so far this year. The art team at the VC is not exactly enslaved to convention. They have crammed a huge number of Lichstensteins into both galleries -- and overflow on the wall behind the stage. The initial effect is sensorial overload. The effect of the quantity of work with tight style is akin to experiencing multiples.

Work by Lichtenstein.

The work consists of pop culture icons, with monsters on the loose, distressed damsels (a few looking reminiscent of outtakes from Sherman's Film Stills), all in a graphic style. They float through vacuous backgrounds, weightless, in either relational or reflective moments.

Work by Lichstentein.

The artist projects images and draws /paints over that on wood panels. The figures get the lion's share of attention. The oft-sparse geometric backgrounds seem like a by-product of inexperience and expediting output, but they may go further.Isolating the central figure(s) seems to be their primary purpose.

The work has a strong sense of individuation and theme. There is a great sense of passion and a tremendous work ethic. 

At a time where most galleries are fiercely adopting the generic signifiers of success, the VC is merrily carving out its own path, taking risks, questioning convention and bringing outlier art to the fore.

 Congratulations to John Lichtenstein and the Venture Cmpound for a good show.

--- Luis


1 comment:

  1. Ive been following John's work and I have to mention that he is also talented performance artist. Perhaps you missed the part of the show where he destroyed a piece of his own artwork with an axe. Thrilling!!