Jet Set Saturdays: Phillip Loersch at François Ghebaly
Maiusculus, 2009 (Detail). Ink and Spray Paint on varnished Mylar.
“Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean’s roar
Play for free, play for me and play a whole lot more, more!
Singing about good things and the sun that lights the day
I used to sing on the mountains, has the ocean lost it’s way.”
–Lyrics to The Ocean by Led Zeppelin
Ah, “The Pacific” – a phrase that brings to mind all of the best things in life. The definition of pacific is, of course, peace. Pacific is also a name, and like it’s meaning the Pacific Ocean plays across the viewer’s mind paralleling the action of the little “p” at the root of its naming. Phillip Loersch’s show Everything Aligned at François Ghebaly has a West Coast Pacific feeling to it, with his muted brushwork on vellum and contrasting minimalist thread installation entitled, The Story of Strings. The installation runs along the path of the entry into the gallery creating a transparent hallway to view the rest of the exhibition. The complexity of looking at the entire gallery through translucent strings parallels Loersch’s language play and literally ties the whole show together in its own complex but logical alignment. The title string can refer to instrumentation, science, string art and a child’s game. Meditative and smart (the title of my favorite piece is Maisculus meaning case sensitivity), the show is a coup of sorts re-unifying meditation, light and space as well as conceptual art in an inventive and fresh way.
Story of Strings, 2010, Marker on Monofilament
The string theory here (pun intended) is dense and fibrous. Textural and tactile, the hair-like brush work of Maisculus and Ein Heim, Eine Gans und ein Turm hover in assembled pieces on the wall like porcelain mosaic fragments. The title Ein Heim, Eine Gans und ein Turm is a subtle reference to the Pulitzer family branch of the royal Brandenburgs. The title translates as meaning, “A home, a goose and a tower.” The Pulitzer family crest is a goose. It seems that in addition to the famed prize, Pulitzer is also the name of a city and a tower in Germany. Not to mention one of the world’s foremost diva art collectors, Emily Pulitzer. That Loersch is one smart cookie and definitely has his eye on the prize. The multiplicity of meaning in the titles doesn’t stop the artist from creating even more references in the material of the artwork — Maisculus hovers above the surface of the wall delicately on a seemingly impossible parallel substrate, gorgeously covered with brushed ink-black hair or tidal waves. The sensate qualities of the marks further lend themselves to the overall ephemeral quality of the show. Somehow looking through the hairy marks of the brush one is brought back to the actual tool the artist employs, which is more than likely made of actual, in itself a metaphor for strings. Ah, the mind of an artist. Truly the brain is the ultimate sex organ, making this Jet Setter pine for her own Loersch milky white pearl necklace strung together with the artists’ textual veracity.
Maiusculus, 2009, Ink and Spray Paint on varnished Mylar
The Gallery says: “Loersch’s intricate drawings and cutouts create a unique vocabulary of lines and shapes used to create complex, filigree structures that float freely in space. Investigating the juxtaposition of Ancient scientific diagrams over most recent approaches to scientific representations, Loersch is asking fundamental questions about the process of drawing.”
Meditation is one of those elements in life that is both embarrassing to the jaded and fundamental to the living. Meditation runs counter to the conceptual in the sense that it involves turning off thinking in order to usher in the brain’s alpha state. Metaphysics, beauty and the Pacific are tough prospects for the contemporary artist, since the existential neuroses of modern life have influenced the art world for a long time. Somehow Loersch manages to be smart without being cynical, scientific without being tedious, charismatic without being obsequious and sexy without being sexual. The Story of Strings artfully plays with language and form, bouncing between the literal and the ephemeral, harmonizing an artistic quirkiness with the philology of critical theory and the spiritualism of transcendence. Ahh…it’s good to know that smart men are out there in the world. I am off to pine at pictures of gorgeous men and books on my new favorite blog. I will be listening to Led Zeppelin in the neon glow of my computer screen thinking of Loersch reading Archimedes and imagining what he must look like in his own private meditative moments. Sigh….[.]
This post was contributed by Mary Anna Pomonis.