EXCLUSIVE: Lari Pittman draws connections between aesthetics and feelings of safety, at his home and cactus garden in Los Angeles.
In his new body of work, Pittman explores the tradition of vanitas painting, which came to fruition in Northern Europe, particularly the Dutch and Flemish regions, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Taken from the Latin meaning emptiness, these still life paintings usually incorporated skulls, burning candles, cut flowers and other objects that mark the passage of time and the transience of life. Pittman structures his modern-day nature morte around diaphanous bubbles, frying eggs, vegetables, splashing kettles, and strings of light bulbs. His day-glo cornucopias, equally warm portraits of domestic life, take on a more thoughtful aspect when seen as arrangements made for a fleeting life.
And a preview of the installation:
Inspired by commercial advertising, folk art, and decorative traditions, Lari Pittman’s meticulously layered paintings transform pattern and signage into luxurious scenes. Meditations on romantic love, violence, and mortality, his work demonstrates the complementary nature of beauty and suffering, pain and pleasure. In a manner both visually gripping and psychologically strange, Pittman’s hallucinatory works reference myriad aesthetic styles, from Victorian silhouettes to social realist murals to Southwestern kitsch.
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