102 x 88″
Lari Pittman’s exhibition at Regen Projects includes seven large-scale and three mid-size paintings as well as Orangerie, a comprehensive survey of over 100 works on paper, hung salon style, dating from 1980–2010. In the LA Weekly, Christopher Miles reports that Pittman’s fertile world is still ripely gushing. “His tonal and attitudinal address, redress and undressing of that world functions on sliding scales between the hopeful and the despairing, the utopian and the dystopian, the decorous and the indecorous, with neither end of any duality, dichotomy or opposition ever given free rein to operate in the absence of the other. Meanwhile, his staggering formal acumen — which can be lost upon those who equate formal rigor with consistency and austerity, and therefore can’t see it beneath Pittman’s stylistic and imagistic promiscuity and often barnacled ornamentation — continues to gain steam and nuance. This arguably is the real story of growth during the span of Pittman’s career, given that most of his other smarts seem to have been pretty fully formed from the time he was hatched out of UCLA and CalArts in the 1970s.
“Such is the secret of Pittman’s longevity — of his ability to hold the center when nothing much holds anymore. Despite the deeply personal aspects of his work, despite the sometimes confessional (sometimes even signed not like a painting but like a letter) airs they take, while they have always been of that distinctive eye, mind and hand, they have never been about Lari with an I. Instead, Pittman is an artist of the good timing, constitution and sense to be an artist for his age. As his latest work attests, he has the combination of empathy and intelligence to relate to the conflictedness and anxiousness of the epoch that formed him; to process it and make something of it even if not necessarily solving its riddles; to keep steadfast and maintain a sense of urgency while avoiding panic; and to realize how meaning is made no less of pictures, words and looks than of framing, layering, positioning and the plays of margin and center, foreground and background. With a compositional and spatial complexity unparalleled in his previous work, informing a narrative structure that seems more about immersion and surround than about scanning, reading and the tension between the linear and nonlinear, Pittman’s latest works are as unnerving, and have as much nerve, as anything he’s produced, and provide a full rationale, once again, for why his work warrants our attention.”
“Lari Pittman: New Paintings,” Regen Projects and Regen Projects II, Los Angeles, CA. Through Oct. 23, 2010. A comprehensive monograph published by Rizzoli will be available in the spring of 2011.
David Pagel:”It’s an awesome, jaw-dropping survey”