[March 20 2015]
In her own words, Mernet Larsen describes her paintings as “memory turned into object.” The works included in Chainsawer, Bicyclist, and Reading in Bed were completed between 2001-2015 and each opens a window into the world of her everyday, not spectacular moments but those encounters with familiar figures or ordinary engagements all etched into the tapestry that describes her seven plus decades of life. Her process is computative. She synthesizes her subjects into geometric boxes of various scales and angles viewers in a skewed vantage point. Despite the distortion, the works exhibit a harmony of parts/congruity. Each are rooted in reality through the eye line of their subjects – parents’ gaze locked to an infant with outstretched arms, apparent colleagues shaking on a deal done and a diner inspecting her bowl of what appears to be a salad of Mediterranean origin – each look intent and emotive. My favorite work, 2012’s Conductor, tips the viewer’s vantage point akin to a Cezanne still life splicing the planes and offering uo views from a box seat, the middle aisles and the front row behind the conductor who is silhouetted in shadow.
The artist lives and works between New York City and Tampa and this is her inaugural exhibition in Los Angeles. Exhibition is on view through April 11th at Various Small Fires, 812 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles.
Text and photo Cecelia Stucker