Margaret Thatcher Projects is pleased to present Working Vacation, a series of new works by Ted Larsen. In what will be his second solo exhibition at the gallery, Larsen continues to examine the history and moldable identity of discarded objects and materials through the creation of minimal, wall-based sculptures.
In his ongoing experimentation with hybrids, contexts, and scale, Larsen constructs assemblages of detritus to re-contextualize and re-label the idea of readymades. By using pre-painted surfaces that have their own narrative, Larsen metaphorically incorporates art history, by using that object's past to demonstrate a new, and different end. Larsen’s work alternates between the pristine and the defaced, the minimal and the expressionistic. Using a range of techniques that includes tree saps mixed with wax on wooden structures, compressed steel objects, and fabricated constructions, he surveys the formal qualities of containment and constraint. Despite lack of additional paint applied to the work, Larsen still considers his work as painting, describing his sculptural process as “being a painter who no longer paints”.
In Working Vacation, the artist further provokes the ironic tendencies his sculptural paintings encapsulate by titling the exhibition and work with paradoxical pairings. He also furthers his concerns about the curiosity of looking by instilling a slow arching story behind each work. Through this, the artist challenges the viewers about perception and the notions about seeing and understanding visual language. Conceptually referencing the Talmud, Larsen quotes, "we don't see things as they are; we see them as we are”, leading the viewers to look inward as well as outward, allowing the work to function in both ways.
Ted Larsen received a B.A. in General Studies Science from Northern Arizona University in 1986. Larsen's work has been exhibited widely in museums in the US, including the New Mexico Museum of Art, The Albuquerque Museum, The Amarillo Museum of Art, The Spiva Center for the Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additionally, his works have been presented throughout the U.S and Europe in over eighty solo and group gallery exhibitions. The artist has received grants from the Surdna Foundation and the Pollock Krasner Foundation, and had residencies with the Edward F. Albee Foundation and Asilah Arts Festival in Morocco, where he was selected to be the USA representative. His work is included in numerous private, public and corporate collections.