Oct 17 - Nov 9, 2013
Pairs of monochrome squares line up side by side. Each may be whole, bisected either horizontally or vertically. Sometimes both squares are themselves divided equally into squares. Occasionally they merge into one rectangle or divide into a stack of slices. Arranged in rows, these simple geometries evoke the structure of music or other vaguely narrative forms. The rhythm slowly builds to a flurry of variations, slows again, and concludes with a final coda of variants. The austere logic of these paintings on paper evokes drawings by Sol LeWitt circa 1972, where he analyzes the internal geometry of the square—revealing how much sense of play, of emotion, of pleasure its logic could convey. More than a quarter century later, Lisa Liedgren’s new compositions exercise a comparable emotive range.
Examined more closely, however, these untitled drawings don’t follow a geometric logic. Instead they take as their departure the venerable magazine Artforum, considered both as a material object and a cultural force. Liedgren has been developing Bounce with Me/Artforum series since 2009 and might be halfway through the project. A force in contemporary art since its founding in 1962, Artforum offers her a synecdoche for the complex market- and media-driven art world today. Liedgren selected a particular number (October 2006) and dissected the issue literally as well as figuratively, replicating its formal structure and analyzing its constituent parts. The three drawings recount quite faithfully the informational content flow of the issue: full-page articles or illustrations, two-page spreads, and the less expensive quarter- and eighth-page ads near the end. They reproduce its mix of editorial and commercial content, revealing the formal devices conflating art and money. Visual pleasure supersedes those pecuniary realities, just as in the art world itself.
For the current exhibition Liedgren painted three duplicate versions of the same composition, which is intact in Untitled #1. To make Untitled #2, she sliced each panel out of the larger sheet; the pieces hover above their background, suspended on straight pins. Untitled #3 is identical but installed in reverse, with only a faint sunny glow as evidence. The textile version, artfully crumpled, further demonstrates how volume transforms a flat surface. These four objects are among the most reductive of the series, which embraces a vast array of cultural inspirations, from Jockum Nordstrom and Tracy Emin, Josef Frank, Wolfgang Laib, LeWitt and Donald Judd, to rapper Jay Z. Gradually unpacking all of these elements as she realizes the diverse components of Bounce With Me, Liedgren investigates visual information, stylistic languages, and the ongoing resonance of conceptual art.