Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lauren Gibbes

I'm feeling Lauren Gibbes' paintings.
Here's more on her in the New York Times arcticle "

The next morning, I visited with Lauren Gibbes and Jason Weatherspoon, who live and work several doors down from Payne. Gibbes is a fine-boned woman of 26 with long brown hair and large dark eyes. The space she shares with Weatherspoon is a large brick warehouselike enclosure with concrete floors, a sleeping loft and a wood stove behind a wall of bare two-by-fours.

The paintings that Gibbes had on display were deft, faintly arch references to the color-saturated, low-glamour world of 1970's television. They were mostly diptychs and triptychs, salvaged from screen shots of retro game shows and photographs that she had come across online: a teenage cheerleader reclining in the summer grass, her eyes obscured by a glittering bar of diamond dust; a woman in a straining bodice, gazing with dark amour at the adjacent panel, which showed a walnut-colored thoroughbred, glistening as if it had been dipped in baby oil; a contestant on "The Match Game" caught in a slack-jawed reverie under the studio lights, emanating a grim, jaundiced radiance.

Then Weatherspoon, who is a co-owner of the biodiesel facility, walked in, and we had a look at his sculptures, of which there were a few dozen, crowding a concrete slab on one end of the room. Weatherspoon, 30, wore his hair pulled back in a ponytail, and had a goatee twisted into a clutch of little stubs. He sculptures ceramic figures, beautifully wrought but far darker than what tends to sell in downtown galleries. We looked at his sculpture of a squalling, grotesquely obese baby with its face sinking into its torso flab. "It's my new American cherub," he said. He showed me a near-life-size couple in cross-legged copulation, each participant bald and painted in a lustrous coat of candy-apple-red auto paint, the man holding out a beseeching palm and grimacing, despite the circumstances, with deep displeasure. He also showed me his reimagining of the Buddha, recast as a thunderously fertile, ecstatic woman with a gigantic bosom spilling out of her arms, and a second bosom on top of her head, but instead of nipples, each cranio-breast was punctuated by a set of male sexual anatomy.

When we'd finished the tour, Weatherspoon bent down to pet a piebald Chihuahua that was scratching at his pant leg. He and Gibbes laughed and stared at the floor and talked about how, while contemporary art was beginning to find its place in Asheville, it was still rough going for people making art that wouldn't necessarily brighten someone's living room. Weatherspoon sighed. "It's tough being a contemporary artist in the South," he said. "We had a bunch of tourists in here the other day. They looked around and looked around, and after a while they said, 'Don't y'all do any pictures of trees?"'

1 comment:

Allie said...

woot woot 31GRAND!