Tom LaDuke, ‘BRUEGEL, PHANTOM’, 2013, TWO x TWO

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In Bruegel, Phantom, a ghostly shape floats in the cosmos. LaDuke’s title would lead us to believe it is an element from a work by Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel (or one of his sons), though now it exists in a cognitive limbo where the viewer senses it has a source (a rocky outcropping or folds of fabric?), but cannot identify it. The effect is a stark work that is both visually and conceptually haunting.

Tom LaDuke quotes a variety of sources, from art historical to cinematic, in his enigmatic and meticulously rendered works. LaDuke recontextualizes his references through strategies like cropping, blurring, and erasure, thereby giving them new meanings, while retaining the surrealist quality of seeing a familiar object out of place. In Bruegel, Phantom, a ghostly shape floats in the cosmos. LaDuke’s title would lead us to believe it is an element from a work by Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel (or one of his sons), though now it exists in a cognitive limbo where the viewer senses it has a source (a rocky outcropping or folds of fabric?), but cannot identify it. The effect is a stark work that is both visually and conceptually haunting. LaDuke has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including one in 2010 at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, which then traveled to Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He has been included in group exhibitions at Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Portland Art Museum; and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem. He is in a number of public collections, including Guggenheim Museum, New York; MoCA, Los Angeles; Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and Speed Art Museum, Louisville.

gallery website: www.crggallery.com

About Tom LaDuke

Tom LaDuke deploys meticulous and labor-intensive processes in the creation of his paintings and hyper-realistic sculptures. His recent paintings, part of an ongoing series, involve the application of four distinct layers of paint to the canvas: the first three are delicately applied with an airbrush to depict the screen of a TV that captures scenes of his studio as reflected in the glass, as well as glimpses of films playing on the screen. The fourth layer is a jarring, thick, and apparently haphazard application of oil paint that produces the effect of two separate paintings colliding on the same canvas. Using delicate materials, his sculptures painstakingly replicate objects, as seen in Flemish Veil (2010) where LaDuke recreates the cracks in a Dutch painting using eyelashes and arm hair. Run generator (2009) is a plastic shopping bag, made from graphite and glue, which appears almost to float.

American, b. 1963, Holyoke, Massachusetts, based in Los Angeles, California

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