Artext Summer 2002 


Marion Lane at Patricia Correia Gallery, Santa Monica

By Christina Valentine



My first experience of Marion Lane's work was in the 1999 show "Dry Run" at Coagula Projects. These earlier acrylic paintings were visual descriptions of the information flow of our time-stacked tubular forms that colorized the white noise we see and hear in our heads. Lane's ability to conjure gymnastic feats from acrylic paints, and the architectural growths that sprouted vibrantly off the wood panels, visualized the experience of the Information overload we sort through in our minds. In her new work, Lane has skimmed off much of this information flow to present more of an isolated slice of the sensorial memories that we undergo on a daily basis. All the while, her paints still characteristically show off in high performance style as they twist, twirl, and flaunt their plasticity,

Lane's new paintings at Patricia Correia (January 26 - March 2,2002) easily conjure references to Joan Miro's work as well as flattened versions of Alexander Calder's mobiles; but these art historical parallels are not the main points of interest. Instead, the appeal of these paintings lies in the way they contain the viewer's memories. As one stands looking at the show, layers of recognition peel off the mind. The nonfigurative shapes and figures that float in Lane's panels conjure up oral and visual memories in a whimsical mixture, creating a synaptic web of recollections that generate their own history.

A series of abstract forms in spare, creamy-white backgrounds, the layers of paint in each piece are stacked, pooled, and dotted to form tendrils, puddles, and squiggly entrails-a kind of connective tissue within the composition- These puddles and tendrils are the principal focus of the works as they emanate into shapes that hint at fantasy landscapes and creatures. With a color scheme that plays to the. acrylics' strengths-synthetic bronze and silvers, flat browns and whites, opalescent blues and purples-the paintings appear taffy-like and bejeweled. The experience is reminiscent of Charlie's visit to Wonka's chocolate factory or the scratch-and-sniff stickers of childhood-the taffy puddles and milky clouds make one want to lick and smell the paintings' seeming sweetness, in The Butterfly Effect (2001-02), a translucent blue puddle suspends a stream of syrupy brown while a purplish cloud steams out of a bronze vine. The shiny, bubbly texture of the paint, coupled with the flat opaque colors makes you salivate as you visually digest the forms that begin to play on the mind.

Acrylic has often been the bastard sibling to oils, in the sense that these are often deemed as substitutes for the "real thing." However, Lane's use of acrylic defines the activity and discourse of the paintings. They are plastic and proud of it-the flat pastel colors placed next to their pearly luminescent counterparts give us pearls and gems embedded in sticky, sugary puddles. The visual outcome is an abstracted reflection of the synthetic memories generated by our mediated culture.