Post-exhibition shout-out: “We Woke Up This Way” at Sardine

Installation View at Sardine

Contributed by Sharon Butler / Despite our deep dive several years ago into Provisional painting and the Casualist tendency, a battery of questions continues to confront painters in the studio: can a painting be meaningful if the process involves fun rather than struggle? Is hard-earned resolution required? Or can something painted quickly and easily still qualify as good? At Sardine, the painters in “We Woke Up this Way” – Mike Olin, Jon Lutz, and Mairikke Dau – suggest an affirmative answer to the last question.

Mike Olin, Mt. Olympics Ski Jump, 2019, oil and mixed media on linen, 25 x 19 inches

They self-consciously embrace playful, idiosyncratic, and seemingly undemanding strategies, making pretty but not terribly rigorous paintings that are too weird to be decorative. And this seems fair enough: they would rather present visual possibilities than deliver a record of accident, misstep, and endeavor.

Jon Lutz, Frames for Pete, 2019; gouache, pencil, and collage on panel; 14 x 11 inches
Jon Lutz, Moon through Chattanooga, 2019; gouache, pencil, and collage on panel; 10 x 8 inches
Jon Lutz, Shrimpy’s Last Blues, 2019; gouache, pencil, and collage on panel; 12 x 9 inches
Mairikke Dau, I Dream of Greenie, 2019, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

About the artists (from the press release for the show):

Mairikke Dau lives and works in NYC. She received her BFA from the University of California Santa Cruz and her MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has shown her work at Safe Gallery, 808 Gallery, Bakalar Paine Galleries, Wildlife and hosts a performance art event ‘Home Perm.’ Her current body of work is about autonomy, play, and following the logic of decision making.

Jon Lutz is an independent curator, writer, gallery director, and artist that lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He began an independent curatorial project entitled Daily Operation in 2005, and was a director at Sardine from 2013-2015 and then at 106 Green from 2016-2018.

Mike Olin was born in Los Angeles, he has lived and worked in NYC since 1999.  You can see the influence of Southern California in Olin’s interest in light, color and natural forms.  When Olin moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn he was struck by the varieties of trash in his new neighborhood and began collecting it.  Adding detritus and other mixed media to his canvases eventually became part of the process of creating his landscape-like paintings.  Mike has shown his work throughout the US and internationally, including NYC shows at Edward Thorp Gallery, Klaus von Nichtssagend, Regina Rex, and George Lawson Gallery in San Francisco.

We Woke Up This Way: Mairikke Dau, Jon Lutz, & Mike Olin,” Sardine, 286 Stanhope Street, Ground Floor, Brooklyn, New York. June 22 – July 28, 2019.

Related posts:
Residency in Tuscany: Scarlett Bowman talks with Jon Lutz
Karin Campbell’s grins and grimaces
Elise Ferguson: Courting imperfection

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3 thoughts on “Post-exhibition shout-out: “We Woke Up This Way” at Sardine”

  1. Very honest of you to describe the work as you do. Seemingly an insult, but you ask if it will pass muster while not even passing basic “old” qualities.
    By the way, do we need to define every artist by where they went to school and where they have shown? Isn’t this the system that free people presumably fight against? Have a little self respect artists. See what you are doing. You are branding, selling, corporatizing and playing into someone else’s game.

  2. Of course, painting can be meaningful if the primary motivation is fun. The concept of fun involves a human experience and condition just as struggle does. Any suck concept can be helpful and important in creating art.

  3. for me the fact of a painting existing at all is enough of a determinate,,the creative doesn’t need historical underpinings only the urge to create…its when we get involved in making for other reasons that problems and confusions develop…

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