Beginning Wednesday, September 16th, Peder Lund will present five new ceramic wall works by the American installation artist and sculptor Liz Larner (1960- ). Since the 1980s, Larner has explored and expanded the possibilities of sculpture by combining geometric formalism with notions of movement and change. Her use of line, color, and shape work to modify and reinvent the formal language of Minimalism, producing new relationships between viewer, sculpture, and the surrounding environment. An inventor of new forms, Larner’s sculptures are not easy to categorize. Larner’s work evokes an exquisite tension through the use of unconventional materials, the manipulation of space, the presence of unexpected color, and the destabilization of monumentality and volume. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Norway.
Presented at Peder Lund are Larner’s wall-based ceramic forms that support richly chromatic surfaces. Their surfaces are uneven – breaks, fissures, cracks, and bends bisect them vertically—reminiscent of the earth’s shifting crust. The unique imperfections intrinsic to these works are derived from an earlier ceramic piece Larner made in 2012 called Octan. The artist had hoped the work would come out of the kiln clean and even, but it, unfortunately, broke in the process. The fragmented piece featured cracks on its surface, and although not initially the desired effect, it was something which Larner embraced and began to explore further. By this chance occurrence, this mishap allowed her to employ a more experimental and unpredictable process.
The works featured in the exhibition, created exclusively for Peder Lund, are the most recent examples of an ongoing series that considers the poetic qualities of geological formations, as well as bodily phenomena. Their forms are vaguely reminiscent of ancient clay tablets; they hover away from the wall, confusing the viewer’s sense of spatial expectations. Some of the works feature highly detailed and colorful surfaces, while others focus the viewer on a single, rich color, exploring its subtle variations. Environmental factors implicit in the construction of the pieces determine their final material states and are physically rendered in the work, resulting in imperfections along their textured expanses. The viewer is given the sense of a celestial being, looking down below on rivers, lakes, foothills, tundras, and geometric interventions.
Larner’s ceramic works in this exhibition evoke associations with the natural world and the body, both in her use of material as well as through the titles she gives such as Blackbird (inflexion), Striae, and Open handed. There is a poetic blending of the uncanny, as well, with the work Liken, the only sculpture that is an incomplete oval form. A powerful multiplicity is achieved with the synthesis of these objects’ forms and titles. The resulting pieces manage to be simultaneously painterly and sculptural. Larner’s work is often described as “telluric”; her ceramic works both address the body and earth that the materials come from. Their titles typically allude to fragmentation and changes in state. Through these works both the body and nature are represented, quietly accepting that time causes change.
Liz Larner (b. 1960) received her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1985. She lives and works in Los Angeles. Larner’s work will be the subject of a solo museum exhibition at Sculpture Center, Long Island City in 2021, which will travel to The Contemporary Austin and the Walker Art Center. A solo presentation of her work will be held at the Kunsthalle Zürich in 2021, as well. She was featured in The Foundation of the Museum: MOCA’s Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2019 – 2020). Selected solo museum exhibitions include Aspen Art Museum (2016); Art Institute of Chicago (2015); Two or Three or Something: Maria Lassnig, Liz Larner, Kunsthaus Graz, (2006); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2001-02); MAK, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (1998); and Kunsthalle Basel (1997). She has been included twice in the Whitney Biennial (2006, 1989). She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant (2014); Smithsonian American Art Museum Lucelia Artist Award (2002); Anonymous Was a Woman (2000); and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1999). Work by the artist is held in prominent international collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas, Austin; Dallas Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Collecion Jumex, Mexico City; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MAK-Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum of Contempo- rary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.