I perceive the world to be amazingly and horrifically violent. [ . . . ] Aesthetics for me are just a temporary but aggressive maneuver to push that wall of violence away from me.
The world Lari Pittman creates in his paintings is not a straight, clear-cut, mainstream one. It is more twisty, decorative, layered, complex. His imagery rejects hierarchy and rebuffs obvious meaning.
Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1 is a celebratory cacophony of intensely detailed imagery. Objects morph into one another, connected through an underground fabric of pipes and plumbing and an aboveground fabric of wires and lighting. Acrobats soar alongside sperm-like, mustached faces. Geometric patterns and skyscrapers are equally decorative as interior blends into exterior, back and forth. A toilet takes center stage. Perhaps it presents life along the sprawling highways of Los Angeles, viewed through a windshield—or a panorama of American culture, a nonlinear narrative, everything happening at once.
From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)