For those who don’t know (most of you), I have been working on my senior thesis as a painting major. Last week, I heard one of my fellow thesis students remark that her reaction to finding artists with similar work is like finding a ‘kindred spirit’. I found this to be really refreshing. Then, I felt a little disturbed by how refreshing it seemed. Why is this so refreshing? I’m happy when I find new influences, so why did that statement stand out so much?
I didn’t think about it again until later, when I walked into this exhibit at the Weatherspoon.
Walking into Lapin’s exhibition was kind of like walking into some far corner of my mind. Her work doesn’t exactly look like what I envision my work becoming, but it’s eerily familiar. The ideas and thought process behind her work are more akin to the direction I want to take than any artist I’ve come across. What are the chances her work would be at Weatherspoon, of all places?
Drawing inspiration from her personal memory of historical works of art, Lapin directly transfers these stored images directly from her own mind onto the canvas. She continues to layer these impressions to create her own piece, one that is abstract and movement-based, yet emanating the faintest hints and hidden moments of one of those old landscapes, full of detailed realism and thick, neutral atmosphere.
I noticed that the thickness and number of applied layers vary from piece to piece, many of which are rendered to reflect the title. For example, Thing that happens to memory Is a gorgeous abstraction of falling, and the interruption of falling seems to be a very light, yet dense substance, like an overturned sack of flour. The weightlessness is almost given an attitude of defiance, as a few stray brushstrokes pull off to the sides, while the rest of it plummets to solid ground. One can only see a dark, almost black background underneath, before whatever-it-is hits the floor.
Lapin tends to use thick impasto in her smaller pieces, occasionally leaving the glop of paint to even sit on top, or hang off the bottom of the canvas. She does this so that the viewer is fully aware of the materiality of the painting, only after they are first drawn in by the central focus of a deeply captivating atmosphere. To me, this somehow makes them even more window-like. It connects that world with ours, like snow on a windowsill.
A collision between real and abstract, solid, textural ground with an implied horizon, Lapin brilliantly refers to these works of oil, acrylic, and mixed-media paintings, as ‘Non-Scapes’.
Annie Lapin started out as an archaeology major at Yale University before switching to art. “I realized I wanted to make things, rather than study them,” she explained in an interview with Meghan Dailey for artinfo.com.’s Nine to Watch, 2011.