KAREN LOFGREN

OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

APR 2 - MAY 15, 2016

Royale Projects is pleased to present Other Relevant Experience, Karen Lofgren’s first major solo exhibition of new sculptural objects and installations at its gallery in downtown Los Angeles. The opening reception will take place from 4:00pm to 7:30pm on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 432 Alameda Street (entrance on Seaton between 4th and 5th Streets). The exhibition is on view through May 14, 2016.Other Relevant Experience offers an exchange of physical and psychic energies, employing conductive or insulating materials like copper and felt, and more corporeal materials such as leather and wood. The exhibition features sculptures and installations at various scales, as well as investigations in collage that employ medicinal plants and pornography in the series Could You Name What Is To Cure; and a semi-figurative series entitled Approaching the Limbless Gods, which began with research on interactions with ancient Roman cult statuary in which believers would ascribe a living and breathing condition to objects through daily dialogue and ritual action. The statues were said to be speaking, or creaking, and even appearing as sexual objects of desire. Over time, use, abuse, shifts in beliefs, and the fall of the nation state, these god bodies begin to crumble as all bodies deteriorate, their limbs broken and lost to the dust of time.

Approaching the Limbless Gods demonstrates inverse gestures of these deteriorated forms of reverence by additive process with wood and resin over abstract shapes, tracing women’s bodies and repeating actions thousands of times over by hand to construct vessels that could suggest absent worship. With titles inclusive of The Ecstasy of the Uncontained; The Offering; and Positions for Believers, the works invite an empathetic physical relationship with viewers.

As writer Jared Baxter recently described at VOLUME: “Belief systems, insofar as they effectuate a lived reconciliation of tradition with the direct experience of the present, demand a specific relationship to place, whether in the imposing force of a Gothic cathedral or the mobile, relational sign of a compass. Something of these concerns informs a significant, ongoing strain in Karen Lofgren’s sculptural practice.”

Under Influence, an installation made of leather and copper, is an approach to the idea of the concentric circle through the lens of the Lacanian concept of the “sinthome”, or a co-occurrence of the circles of the real, the imaginary, and the symbolic. The materials within the work continue the artist’s interest in the concept of ritual sacrifice in relation to quotidian life under late capitalism. She writes, “The skins of many different animals are used in the work, from pigs, to cows, deer, and lamb, that each had parents, legs, and thoughts.  These objects in turn are supported on the wall with life castings in copper plated bronze, gesturing and grabbing the objects.”

Heightening a focus on energy exchange, elegant linear works in metal like Lightning Charm are contrasted with multiple felt and resin sculptural objects such as in Feedback Feedback Feedback, and quietly imply animation or embodiment. Taken together with works like On Pain of Extraction, rendered in rope and copper, or No True North, a 12-part installation in wool felt and secretly lined with copper, traversing the walls and floor of the front gallery, the sculptures in Other Relevant Experience draw attention to their own materiality as well as to the bodies of viewers in the space while suggesting an alternate world view where the compass is broken, and there might be no way back.