CRG Gallery is delighted to announce the first New York solo show of Los Angeles-based painter and sculptor, Tom LaDuke. The artist works in painting and sculpture, sourcing from popular film and art history to construct his canvases and objects. The work focuses on the boundaries of visual recognition.
The vitality of the well-known space is momentarily resurrected as if perceived for the first time by a stranger. The slightly unsettling realization that this stranger’s gaze is in fact our own, effectively collapses two seemingly disparate psychological states into one; intimacy and distance coalesce at a single incredibly illusive location. This exchange is taking place around us constantly but we only take note that “something” is happening when it pokes out from the “nothing” of everyday life. The representational aspects in both my painting and sculpture are intended to build a background of intersubjective reality into which these breeches of continuity can occur. This disruption in consistency takes place at precisely the location of the viewer -a blind at the edge of the clearing through which we can perceive ourselves, looking back.
-Tom LaDuke, 2011
LaDuke’s four most recent paintings are developed through three separate layers of paint with three different narratives. The first layer, produced with an airbrush, is a still scene from a canonical film (references in this show include Blade Runner , 2001: A Space Odyssey , Blue Velvet, and Cries and Whispers ). The second, also created with an airbrush, is a depiction of the artist’s studio taken from a photograph, manipulated in the staging of objects and often including a mirror to reflect elements within the studio. Finally, the third is the application of brightly colored, impasto brush strokes. This top surface’s subject matter is derived from canonical art historical paintings, here including Han’s Holbein’s Ambassadors, Jean-Antoine Watteau’s Pierrot, Caspar David Friedrich’s Man and a Woman Contemplating the Moon, and Nicolaes Eliaszoon Pickenoy’s Osteology Lesson of Dr. Sebastiaen Egbertsz.
It is no surprise that LaDuke’s sculptures also involve a level of illusion. With Inexorable Goodbye, LaDuke constructed what appears to be, from a distance, a lace kerchief delicately floating, as though draped over something. Upon closer investigation, the viewer discovers that it is not a kerchief, but a structure molded painstakingly from salt and superglue. Other sculptures included in the show have similar tromp l’oeil elements— a “feather” produced from human hair and fingernails, a “spider web” produced of super glue and polystyrene.