Thursday, July 21, 2016

Caroline Larsen

I drove to Wave Hill (one of NYC's best kept secrets) with Caroline Larsen and her husband in early April for the opening of her show "Fruit and Foliage." The weather was just beginning to feel hopeful and Larsen's succulent paintings made the tulips outside the main house burst brighter and bigger than ever. A couple months later, on the cusp of summer, she had a show open at The Hole on Bowery. In "KaBloom" Larsen's panels brought the cool air of the post rainstorm tropics and a desert's crisp night to our already sweaty Manhattan streets. You might find the same escapes I do if you follow Caroline's work. And it isn't just her paintings that bring relief; after a long day together in her studio, followed by a night of openings and beers, I was left feeling especially uplifted.

The piercing colors and high contrasts of Larsen's paintings stun you into submission before beginning the process of hypnosis with their intricately built tapestries of oil. In long pastry bags filled with oozing paint, Larsen has perfected her application by slowly squeezing out color onto panels that have been marked off to contain varying organic shapes and architectural formations. She will often use two pigments side by side in the bags to seriously optimize the vibrancy of her colors. The highs and lows of a leaf's pattern gets spelled out in molecular detail. Croton plants tangle up with hibiscus flowers and bananas trees as they drench her panels with varying greens, tangerine oranges, and ripe yellows. Sometimes her paintings are completely taken over by fauna, like a flourishing, but unmanaged garden. Other times she exaggerates the xeriscaping of a Southern California home with exuberance. The glistening cool blues of her swimming pools are enough to make you salivate. In her recent show (still up at the Hole), there are sunset-lit mountain tops hit with zig-zags of deep purples and reds and paintings of cars that have been set ablaze with fire. The contrast of the naturalism of light on a mountain and the horrors of man-made destruction calls attention to the ways humans are destroying the very beauty she is depicting so well.

 Image Courtesy of The Hole NYC
 Image Courtesy of The Hole NYC
Image Courtesy of The Hole NYC
Mutual understandings of lizards, sunsets, humidity, and florescent colors forged our bond when we first met a few years back and realized we both spent our teens in Florida. That might also be why we left her studio before sundown for a cold beer and fun times. It was an altogether lovely day. Caroline's show at The Hole is up until July 24th, and her show at Wave Hill is up until August 28th. To see more of her work go to

1 comment:

  1. Really like the way you create your art. Do you sell these?