For the past three decades, Los Angeles–ased artist Liz Larner (US, b. 1960) has explored the material and social possibilities of sculpture in innovative and surprising ways. Today, she is one of the most influential artists of her generation engaged with the medium. Larner’ use of materials ranges from the traditional—bronze, porcelain, glass, and steel—to the unexpected: bacterial cultures, surgical gauze, sand, and leather. All are chosen for their physical properties, the historical associations they hold, or the emotional responses they invite. Taking direction from these materials, she creates works that can be delicate or aggressive, meticulously crafted or unruly and formless.
International ongoing exhibitions
Liz Larner: Don’t put it back like it was, co-
Don’t put it back like it was is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, published by Dancing Foxes Press, which includes contributions by exhibition curator Mary Ceruti, executive director, Walker Art Center; Connie Butler, chief curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Catherine Liu, author and professor of film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine; and poet, playwright, and performance artist Ariana Reines.
As a whole, the exhibition underscores the power and intention of Larner’ work to reconsider objects in physical space as not only a matter of architectural proportions but also as a social, gendered, and psychological constructions. As her objects assert themselves in the gallery environment, they rebel against a legacy of sculptural practice and an understanding of physical space that has largely been shaped by (or credited to) men. Encountering these works compels an awareness of our own embodied presence and relationship to this space.
The exhibition examines ways in which Larner has investigated both the material potential of sculpture and its relationship to the viewer, bringing forward key themes that have occupied her work: the dynamic between power and instability, the tension between surface and form, and the interconnectedness of objects to our bodies.
Works such as Corner Basher (1988) and Orchid, Buttermilk, Penny (1987) call up destruction and decay as creative forces. Sculptures made in pliable fabric or metal, such as Bird in Space (1989) or Guest (2004), physically adapt to and alter our perception of the architectural spaces in which they are shown. The work 2 as 3 and Some, Too (1997–1998)—made from mulberry paper, steel, and watercolor— resembles two interlocking cubes, but like a freehand drawing, its lines have collapsed and softened into a relaxed form that resists rigid geometry or an appearance of stability. V (planchette) (2013), an aluminum form covered in painted paper, appears to shape-
Curator : Mary Ceruti, executive director, Walker Art Center.
Liz Larner, No M, No D, Only S & B, 1990. Walker Art Center, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2020
Exhibition 30 April -
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