Los Angeles

Lari Pittman

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

Lari Pittman’s paintings have always exercised a provocative dialectic between the apparent frivolity of decoration and its undercurrents of eroticism and decay. Until recently, Pittman refrained from any clear painterly synthesis, preferring to stress the helter-skelter of cultural heterogeneity through collage and assemblage. A baroque sensuality and the inevitability of death vied with ’50s coffee shop kitsch to create works of enigmatic optimism, their dark underbelly counterbalanced by a sanguine sense of endurance.

Pittman has sustained this dialectic in his new work, pitting the liberating force of the subconscious against a reified Modernism. Yet his biomorphic motifs, with their evocations of Jean Arp and John Altoon, have been more firmly integrated into a conceptual statement about painting itself. Gone are the collaged elements, the nostalgic “quotes” of frames within frames.

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