Greg Lindquist – You Are Nature

On view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery
February 9 – March 10, 2012

by Jonathan Beer

You are Nature is Brooklyn-based artist Greg Lindquist’s most recent body of work currently on view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery. It is comprised of over 15 paintings completed since 2011, as well as two site specific wall paintings.

Spiderweb (If it's raining, no one can see your tears.) Oil on Linen.16 x 24.5 inches. 2012. (Courtesy of the artist.)

In a departure from Lindquist’s earlier work, this show features pieces more decidedly about painterly exploration than his prior interest in smart picture making. While intellect is surely habitual concern for the artist, the hallmark of this show is his temporary suspension of that theoretical backdrop to find enjoyment and intrigue in the act of painting.
As I viewed Lindquist’s work at the opening I could not help but remember a 1964 interview between Larry Rivers and David Hockney. Rivers asked Hockney which was more important to picture making; making something beautiful or interesting. Hockney replied “‎Perhaps the most beautiful paintings are beautifully interesting.” In the case of Greg Lindquist’s work I believe this principle holds true.
We inhabit a world stuck between analog and digital and this dialectic has permeated visual culture, its effect seen for the past two decades throughout the contemporary art world. Judging by the paintings in the exhibition this is a concern for the artist. He deploys many conceptual devices within the paintings to access this. Photographic formatting and cropping reminiscent of television screens frames heavily textured scenes of minimalistic ruins. Typical suburban scenery fills crusty airplane television screens.

Sunburn. Oil on Linen. 22 x 48 inches. 2012. (Courtesy of the artist.)

Brave New World (For we are where we are not). Oil on Panel, 32 x 48 inches. 2012 (Courtesy of the artist.)

Degradation and decay have been central to Greg Lindquist’s work for over 5 years, beginning with depictions of vacant or abandoned urban environment. Since that time his images have become increasingly enigmatic and formally sophisticated but for the first time that sense of degradation and decay are married in his paint application. He is noticeably more open to let chance enter his painting process in a way that mimics the visual surprises found in decaying civilization. A myriad of textures activate the pictures:  few of the paintings have more sophisticated and considered surfaces harking of Peter Doig, while others resemble Hipstamatic photos. Is Lindquist winking at us by including a piece depicting an IPhone with an all too familiar cracked screen?

You Are Nature is not to be missed and is an exciting step forward in this artists unfolding career.

Greg Lindquist is currently represented by Elizabeth Harris Gallery in New York.

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