Maria Lassnig: A Painting Survey, 1950 – 2007
In Maria Lassnig’s career, we trace a continuously evolving negotiation between the conscious self and the alternately concrete and conceptualized other. The body of Lassnig’s work – evolving over the course of her long career from her first expressionist essays into an austerely considered hard-edged geometric abstraction (vaguely reminiscent of Frederick Hammersley) to a more expressive art informel to a simultaneously sensual and abstracted exploration of the contours of conscious experience of the external world – is itself a kind of ontology, a history of consciousness, of being in the world. This concise, but elegant, survey of her career reveals an intellectual as much as an artistic history. The dialectic of expressionism is a consistent through-line; but Lassnig is always reaching for something beyond the surface, a kind of transcendence of surfaces (beginning, naturally, with a transcendently hard surface). From geometric abstraction, her work moves toward a quasi-symbolic pictogrammatic treatment of form, before addressing the self’s relationship to nature, both surrounding and interior. A decade later, she is turning a hard objective eye on her own constantly morphing physical contours, before finally returning to an existential confrontation with the forces differentiating us from each other and the world (or void) around us.
Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel
901 East 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Show runs thru December 31, 2016