Sarah Lutz at Lohin Geduld

Sarah Lutz, Suelo Marino

Sarah Lutz, Suelo Marino (2010), oil on canvas, 30 x 24″; courtesy Lohin Geduld Gallery

Gravity plays a significant, if not defining, role in Sarah Lutz’s lush and painterly abstractions, currently on display at Lohin Geduld Gallery.

The majority of Lutz’s compositions are peculiarly weighted, as if the bottom edge of each panel were a solid plane struggling to hold the painting’s contents. Even when her clustered arrays of blobs, blips and fleshy nubbins float and bob, they’re inexorably pulled toward a horizon line that is part stage, part shelf, part landscape and mostly mystery. The effect is disconcerting, particularly given the boundless environments in which Lutz envelops her biomorphic shapes. It’s as if each image threatens to slide from our purview—the catch being that our purview is similarly transient.

Lutz, in other words, places us in no-man’s land, an amalgam of Surrealist dreamscape, microcellular panorama and, given the work’s keening and otherworldly light, Mars as painted by Odilon Redon or Gustave Moreau. There’s a 19th-century flavor to the attention paid to detail and ornamentation. Notwithstanding traces of 20th-century precedent, everything from Salvador Dalí to Philip Guston to Terry Winters to the Spirograph, Lutz’s images are un-placeable in terms of timeline. Imagine a pre-modernist painter pursuing a modernist idiom with little regard for the niceties of our high tech age, and you’ll get an inkling of Lutz’s slippery accomplishment.

The only absolute thing about Lutz’s vision is that it is inconceivable without oil paint. Look at Congeries (Tumble) or the lumpish pile-up of squiggles in Suelo Marino and you’ll know why the medium is treasured; hell, you’ll realize why it was invented. The luster, malleability and chromatic richness afforded by oils are characteristics that Lutz employs with understated bravado and sparkling clarity. A painter in tune with her medium is a rare and welcome thing—and she’s currently seen in abundance at Lohin Geduld.

© 2010 Mario Naves

Originally published in the May 19, 2010 edition of City Arts.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: