For “Act Naturally,” New Mexico artist Ted Larsen returns for his fifth Robischon Gallery solo exhibition with small-scale wall mounted sculptures constructed of precision-cut, repurposed steel, layered over volumetric forms. With a sophisticated stance and strong tendency toward the ironic, Larsen’s use of geometry, questions the conventions in art history such as Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, Op Art or Constructivism – and is located between the abstract and reductive.
His expressive wit, sense of color and use of atypical materials employed within his works, not only engage, but remove the usual restrictions of how an artwork is seen and/or categorized. Unconventionally minded, the artist considers his sculpture to be akin to painting – going so far in this exhibition as to place rectangular structures around certain geometric forms as if to “frame” them, though the frame and sculpture are one. As in past series, Larsen continues his metaphoric rejoinder to art history by using industrial pre-painted surfaces with a history of use in relationship to accepted reverence and relevance of High Art. Larsen states, “I think of my work as painting, although I don't "paint" the work in a traditional fashion. For me, I find painting to be inward-looking, primarily concerning itself with itself and it doesn't much relate to where it is placed in the environment. This new series directly addresses some of the primary issues in painting including my perception of painting’s inward-looking nature, the figure-ground relationship and how painting and sculpture are ultimately related. Paintings are indeed objects themselves and I have developed a body of work which addresses the very "objectness" of a painting. Since most of my work is shaped, my thinking also considers the area around the individual sculptures and how they participate with the architecture of the site. My work is therefore as outward-looking as it is inward-looking and functions in both ways. This exhibition furthers my concerns for the curiosity of looking, art historical assumptions and how we perceive visual culture.”
Larsen continues, “While there is always a slow-moving storyline behind my work – which is to say that while elements change in the work (sometimes quite radically) – it might not appear to be radically different in any single piece. However, the motivation for making the sculpture remains constant and consistent. For me, it is about perception and challenging our notions about seeing and understanding visual language. In the Talmud, there is the famous attribution, "we don't see things as they are; we see them as we are."
Ted Larsen graduated magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University. A recipient of the prestigious Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant Award, the Artist Stipend Award, Wichita Falls Art Council, Texas, Surdna Foundation Education Travel Grant, New York, United States Representative to the Asilah Arts Festival, Morroco Representative and the Edward Albee Foundation Residency Fellowship. His work has been exhibited in solo shows at New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM, Amarillo Museum of Art, TX, along with exhibitions at art centers and gallery venues across the US. Larsen’s work is in the collections of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, Proctor & Gamble, Fidelity Investments, National Broadcasting Company, The Bolivian Consulate, Reader’s Digest, PepsiCo, The University of Miami, Krasel Art Center, Dreyfus Funds, JP Morgan Chase, Forbes and Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc. among many others too numerous to list. Larsen’s “Lined Out” installation exhibition at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art was featured at the museum through January 2018.