PETER LODATO + ERIC JOHNSON
July 15 - September 9 2017
PETER LODATO : RECENT WORKS
A California native, Peter Lodato began making work in the late 1960s as part of the West Coast-specific Light and Space movement. Aligned with the concerns of his contemporaries, Lodato first constructed light installations that explored the nature of perception and the way that physical environments could be transformed into immersive experiences for the viewer. Lodato’s paintings evolved from his preliminary drawings for these installations and eventually, Lodato was able to recreate the illusive effect of light with color, form, and canvas alone.
Always fascinated by the uncertainty of human perception, and the duplicitous nature of vision, which can be both revealing and deceitful, Lodato creates paintings that delve into this duality. Upon first read they are austere, geometric abstractions. After further observation, however, the paintings begin to vibrate: brushstrokes become evident and the surface reveals that there are numerous layers beneath. The hard edges of his often bi-chromatic works dissipate into sensuous fields of color that seem to push space in and out.
Lodato’s reductive, divided compositions are visual confrontations between the planar simplicity of form and the resonance of particular pigments. A disciple of the AbEx color field painter, Barnett Newman, Lodato’s sumptuously colored canvases echo Newman’s concept of using division as a way to merge different areas of the canvas into a sublime whole. Much like Newman’s “zips” of color, Lodato’s vertical bands draw the viewer deeply into the picture plane, causing them to intensely experience the work, both physically and emotionally.
ERIC JOHNSON : SELECT WORKS
Eric Johnson creates enigmatic and sensual abstract sculptures that are constructed with pigment, wood and resin. Johnson’s work seamlessly unites two traditions of Southern California art - the sleek and sexy aesthetic of the Finish Fetish movement and the organic and elegant tradition of woodworking. His handcrafted pieces are sheathed in resin skins, which often reveal glimpses of the wooden architectures encased within. Endlessly fascinated by physics and science, Johnson’s references range from cosmology and astrophysics to the human form.
Johnson’s work is deeply personal - in addition to drawing inspiration from his ancestral boat-building heritage (which is Norwegian, Scottish and Cree Native American) - these skeletal forms are also inspired by a severe neck injury, and the resulting pain, that Johnson suffered early in his career. His father was one of California’s expert auto body restorers, and Johnson skillfully incorporates tools from this industry to craft his sculptures. This notion of memory and both personal and shared histories is essential to Johnson’s practice - the artist has remarked that “Each individual work on its own is intended to inspire an exploration of light, color and transparency. While moving from piece to piece it is my aim that people start to sense the many facets of the piece and acknowledge any memories that the work might invoke.”