ARTNET NEWS: David Ebony’s Top 10 New York Gallery Shows for April

David Ebony, Friday, April 8, 2016

Tom LaDuke, Happy Trail, 2016. Photo Courtesy CRG Gallery.
Tom LaDuke, Happy Trail, 2016.
Photo Courtesy CRG Gallery.


3. Tom LaDuke at CRG, through April 24.
In this tour-de-force exhibition of recent paintings and sculptures, Los Angeles-based artist Tom LaDuke continues an esoteric exploration of space, time, and perception, the impetus of his work for some years. At first, the paintings on view appear as abstract compositions, featuring gestural flourishes of fluid pigment of searing colors, which are certainly energetic and engaging enough. On extended and careful viewing, though, layers of refined, almost photographic images emerge in these works. Split Universe, for instance, with drips of gold from the top of the canvas and brilliant white light beams radiating from the center, harbors a detail of Diego Velázquez’s 1630 masterpiece, Apollo in the Forge of Vulcan, in the Prado’s collection, painstakingly rendered several layers deep into the surface.  

More like a two-dimensional exercise in archeology, Early Signs features an impressive painterly choreography of gestures and fragmented forms that activate the foreground. The random shapes recall a rocky post, an elongated arm, and organic pod-like elements, all floating in a cosmic ether. In the background, a phantomlike image emerges based on Salvador Dalí‘s iconic 1936 Surrealist painting, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. LaDuke offers similarly meticulous—and mind-bending—games in the 3-D works, such as Happy Trail, a life-size dandelion gone to seed, made of silicon and fingernail clippings.


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