Tuesday, June 03, 2014

TRAVIS LAMOTHE


Installation View

ModernDallas.net repost of my article

The internet makes for quick research and contact with artists and their galleries. Last week, I found out that Re Gallery was having a show of Travis LaMothe’s paintings, so I looked at his personal site and emailed him. I asked him to send me his thoughts on his work and LaMothe sent me four wonderful paragraphs of text. And no Travis, it was not more than I was asking for, but rather it was insight that confirmed some of my suppositions about the work. I also had a great conversation over the phone with Wanda Dye. I think it has been about a year since I have been down to the gallery, but not for the lack of great shows. I could kick myself for missing shows like Lily Hanson, Rebecca Carter, and Arthur Pena to name a few. Spilled milk, I will not be making the same mistake by waiting so long to visit.

Twenty years ago, I went to college for Graphic Design, so paintings that use unfolded box designs instantly brought me back to those days of experiment with product designs. In fact, I own 4 books filled with box designs, so the moment I saw an image of LaMothe’s paintings, I knew I wanted to know more about the work and the artist that made them.

Travis LaMothe’s show is tightly packed with 24 pieces, each 24 inches long. Other than a few breaks by windows and doors, the works are installed 4 inches apart. LaMothe has created a simulated/actual retail space that reflects marketing strategies. Objects come in boxes, which his painting depict and there are a variety of drapery linen colors to choose. In his email, LaMothe alludes to the marketing of shoes. Having variety of color allows a product to feel personalized to the consumer. In art, it has been traditionally taboo to express this kind of base consumerism, but is this personal preference more complex? And like a store, the works are cataloged with numbers corresponding to the designs of the boxes. The boxes have become flat, unfolded and made into simple white minimalist shapes framed by the linen. These paintings use the non-traditional medium of drywall compound, but still read as paintings. You might say LaMothe is deconstructing the whole shopping/painting experience. LaMothe is creating Conceptual Pop woven in Minimalist formalism. A seemingly impossible combination pulled off by LaMothe’s careful orchestration of key elements.

Browsing LaMothe’s web site, I found his AND & OR series, this message about the current body of work at Re Gallery, “Cardboard, larger, invokes a floor plan the same way an object can invoke the idea of a painting”. This series is a collection LaMothe’s ideas and you can see that he has implemented them into physical objects. I think LaMathe’s AND & OR piece accomplishes the stated idea, but through this solo show at Re Gallery, LaMathe has managed to say so much more. Travis LaMathe’s show, “Generics” will run through May 25th.

ModernDallas.net for more images

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