Sadie Laska, “I, clouded”

Sadie Laska’s paintings are meditations on the fog of contemporary communication and the pleasurable agonies of trial and error painterly expression. The fuzz of electronic meanings in the crowded field of visual information that compete for our collective attention, supply the imagery that Laska employs to create paintings of pulsing energy and release.

Laska’s paintings are full of suggestions, helpful or otherwise, guiding us where to look. The idea that a painting is series of directives for the viewer to follow is interrogated in Laska’s work. The gravity of the paintings is often undercut by a palette of bright primary colors applied in thin washes with occasional bursts of bravura spray paint or brushy scribbles. Strident confidence is often relaxed and reintegrated into something pillowy. In Laska’s work we get a flurry of frustrated symbols and signs — an hourglass within a circle (the symbol for extinction, Time is Running Out!), chaotic arrows, frenzied cartoon clouds, phone icons and the moon. These logos and Laska’s suggestive abstract shapes rarely stand alone but rather fit together or become enveloped by the whole, pushed back into the air and recesses of each painting. We see luminous colors and glowing magic marker scrawls that form weightless environments holding optimism and cultural detritus in equal measure.

I, Clouded also features large plywood silhouettes brushed in with solid colors. They could be stand-ins for the audience, “the little guy”, other artists, or perhaps a cast of characters ready to stage an “up-with-people” type celebration of diversity. Or are these the guys sending all those damn texts? Either way, the artist, by including these figures, shows us who she has decided to cast her lot. I, clouded. I, painted. This show is a lament and an anthem all in one. There is a sense of movement throughout. The thought balloons, are also text balloons… that become anger clouds… that become archaic wall drawings on a prehistoric cave, that become the masterful orchestrations of Monet’s lily pads. We see the paint, the thin paint, nearly backlit like an electronic screen on a huge scale. We see the revisions, the cancellations, and we reenter the moment we wish we could have to do over and over again.

The paintings here are washy and bright paintings, and covered in appealing blots of color, squiggly lines and symbols such as arrows and stars. Yet the show’s title suggests a certain dolefulness under all the chromatic cheer, and indeed a sense of melancholy is notable, especially in a group of cutout figures stacked upright along the walls. Crude and posed in awkward positions, they resemble crime-scene outlines left on the sidewalk.” Time Out.

“I, Butted” show was split into paintings and giant painted figures. It’s tempting to think of the “I” as the figures and the “Butted” as my butt-like paintings. The show as a whole has an impressively mature unity of form and the giant two-dimensional figures are some of the most confounding and amazing pieces I’ve seen in some time. I think the reason they are so striking is because they pose a formal question as to whether they are two-dimensional sculptures or paintings that have taken on a sculptural shape. I asked Sadie about this, and she says they are a “most simple form of sculpture. I think of them as two-dimensional sculptures that lean against the wall. But I did paint them with oil paint. It is a painted object against a wall.”

“Canada” East Village / Lower East Side Opening from Wed Jun 10, From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM 333 Broome Street Monday, July 6–Sunday, July 12

You may also like...