Opening reception: Saturday, May 14, 5–7pm
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Blum & Poe is pleased to announce the representation of Los Angeles-based artist Lauren Quin on the occasion of her first solo exhibition with the gallery, Pulse Train Howl. This show will precede her first museum solo exhibition which will open later this year at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, along with a presentation at Pond Society, Shanghai, China. Co-published with Colpa Press, NMOCA will also be producing the first monograph on Quin’s practice, spanning several bodies of work to date. Quin is also represented by Friends Indeed Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Rendered in a variety of techniques, Lauren Quin’s throbbing reverberations of symbols steam ahead before reaching a state of fever-pitch where visual intensities correlate to guttural wailing. Suggesting a synesthesia between sight and sound, ocular shivers within vibrant layers recall sonic vibrations. Pathways multiply and quicken before culminating in a kaleidoscopic overwhelm of optical howling. Strained, noisy, and fried, formations of partial segments act as snaps of communication, frozen in their process of forging a coherent whole. Reflecting Quin’s zealously layered canvases, the exhibition’s title draws from patterns of electrical spikes in the nervous system as well as a wolfpack’s long-range communication, evoking the artist’s rhythmic—almost sonic—synchronized symbols and combinations of mark making.
Disparate though related source images—culled from both everyday life and art history—are adopted and repeated throughout the layers, responding differently with each iteration. As Quin describes, these forms “are not built with a plan, rather a radius of symbols I collect and return to over the years.” These symbols include bat wings, bone structures, spider legs, fingers, the mouth of the mummy, a Lee Lozano drawing of an oil can, a painting of a patinated crown by Oskar Schlemmer, and an ancient sculpture of a rowboat. The source forms are connected by their shared structural repetition, offering rings or appendages that spiral and curl inward like mangled paws. Repeated in acts of self-reference, the forms fuse into tentacles, tubes, and tunnels while moving outward in rippling moiré patterns.
A pattern of iridescent scales serves as a base layer or underpainting. Revealed later through a process of removal, the partial tubes of color are also repeated closer to the paintings’ surfaces. These spirited prismatic flakes curl like fractured ribbons as they flicker with reflective luminosity. Close up, the minced curves float like soft clicks. From further away, they crystallize into a beating surge of tumultuous energy. Moments of blurred, spinning entropy guide the momentum of marks like a drain’s vortex. On top of and within the patterned layers, buoyant biomorphic masses in vivid, fleshy colors hover on top of and within the patterned layers. Dancing within the thresholds of liminal space and warping depth perception via variation of scale, the snaking tubes and tunnels imply no clear delineation between exteriors and interiors.
Once the composition is established, the layers filling all possible negative space, Quin commences the time-sensitive process of wiping, carving, and etching her imagery into the surface to reveal contrasting colors underneath, repeating the imagery to a rippling effect. The traces in the wet paint range from the thickness of a finger to the thinness of a nimble etch mark—resulting in radiating waves that start with a quiver and climax in a throb. The final element of Quin’s ocular alphabet is introduced in luminous dispersed lines of various weights repeating aforementioned symbols. Through a monoprinting process, the source images are regenerated in crackling flairs of light. While the speckled ink acts as light bouncing off the volumetric tubes, delicate and sparkling cross-hatching provides yet another avenue for depth-building.
As certain layers can only be executed within windows of drying time, the paintings inherit an immediate and urgent physicality. After establishing a painting’s foundation in this time-sensitive process of cumulative and retractive mark-making, Quin develops each painting’s individual sensibility on its own terms. Conversing within the layers of scaled patterns, morphing limb-like forms, carved drawings, and sizzling lines, the techniques are repeated, tempered, and pulled forward, following each unique rhythm to completion. Regulating layers to the pace of each work, forms are brought to the forefront—mining ever greater depths and rendering pattern as both a stable form and slippery void.
Quin’s large-scale painting in the garden gallery is presented in homage to Lynda Benglis’s neighboring exhibition, Excavation. The presentation acknowledges a shared sensibility of looping, knotted, reflective, and textured forms that speak directly to the visceral body. The turbulent force wielding Quin’s patterns, limbs, and colors consumes the field of vision, inviting the viewer to embody the work’s somatic feedback.
Lauren Quin lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Her work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including Pulse Train Howl (2022), Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA, and group exhibitions, such as Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection (opening summer of 2022), Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; and On Boxing (2021), Blum & Poe, Los Angeles. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; ICA Miami, Miami, FL; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.