Jonathan Lasker celebrates the act of making in highly controlled compositions of thick impasto elements and dense linear circuitry. Using color, silhouette, and pattern, Lasker invents a fresh vocabulary of abstract signifier and painterly glyph. "In The Oregonian, DK Row reports that Lasker, especially in the larger paintings, is like a cartographer of the abstract, arranging colors and shapes that project a restrained whimsy. "Usually, in each painting, Lasker creates several large geometric shapes filled in by a vortex of scribbly corkscrew designs. Each awkward shape is a different color -- purple, blue, yellow, red, green, black, etc. -- and almost a painting unto itself. Lasker also opens up each painting by creating an expanse of white or yellow that's surrounded by thickly built-up paint of the same color. One way to interpret these flat spaces is as little windows that have been opened up in the middle of each painting. Peek-a-boo. There is indeed a rivulet of impishness to these large paintings, a rascality that is actually more pronounced in the smaller works, where Lasker's graphic marks realize greater flourish. But light-heartedness is not Lasker's objective here; he's expanding upon some longstanding art historical ideas about painting.
"I wish that circuitry would dazzle more often and in unpredictable ways. Lasker produces taut, complex structures, but this mastery also seems to hem in the artist's waggish impulses. The winding corkscrew squiggles want to push beyond or outside of their strictly outlined geometric containers, but alas, clerkish exactness prevails. " Read more.
Watch James Kalm's video of Lasker's 2007 opening at Cheim & Read. At first his camera runs out of memory, but hardworking Kalm returns the next day to finish his report.
Also check out the now-dormant PaintersNYC, where the rambling, hard-to-please regulars actually had a fairly interesting discussion of Lasker's work last year.
"Jonathan Lasker," organized by Bruce Guenther. Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR. Through Jan. 11.