It’s a good thing painting was never truly dead, or David Lloyd would not have been able to exhibit his new paintings at Klowden Mann in Los Angeles this fall. Llloyd’s paintings are fiercely, vibrantly alive. Stepping into the gallery space reminds one of just why white walls and concrete floors are useful –to set off these bright and visually compelling paintings. The sixteen paintings on display are more than just aesthetically pleasing, though; they demonstrate the polysemous possibilities of abstract painting in the 21st century.
At first glance the paintings appear to have a lot in common with each other. They incorporate shapes, usually triangles or octagonal structures. The colors are radiant and carnivalesque, ranging from cotton candy pink to ocean blue to golden yellow. They exhibit a Kandinsky-like superior understanding of balance through their compositional divisions, juxtapositions of shapes, and use of line.
However, further perusing results in noticing the uniqueness of each of these works. Lloyd demonstrates a multiplicity of aesthetic influences that play out in his paintings. Works like Absurd Consequences and An Illusive Path incorporate glossy, pasted shapes in bands of color, which resemble Frank Stella’s famed irregular polygons. Surrealism slithers in, with sinuous shapes and attenuated limbs connecting to and holding aloft taut lines; the result, as in Ephemeris and The Age of Discovery, is a cheeky and free-spirited update to the Duchampian bachelor machine.
Other works offer surprises in terms of materials and techniques used. A Fundamental Force features a pasted, torn piece of floral fabric, while Ephemeris tucks in one corner a shadowy photo of an island scene painted over with thick but transparent paint. Some of the canvases owe a debt to the Color Field painters, as translucent veils of paint stain the canvases, but others pile up viscous and metallic acrylic paints. Lloyd doesn’t seem to want to confine himself to one type of paint or one type of visual impression, with the abstract, the biomorphic, and the decorative all companionably vying for our attention.
These works aren’t simply studies in painting’s past, but explorations of the ineffability of nature. Lloyd once described his work as a combination of “serious mysticism and fucked-up pseudo-science”, which gives amusing insight into his intentions with his pieces. Many of the works suggest natural scenes, such as According to Nature with its insinuation of a rocky outcrop and hazy, sunset colors. Day and Night juxtaposes inky, gold-laced blue with bright yellow, and Being and Form has a spray of blue paint crashing on a brown shore. The connections to nature might be mere suggestions, and there’s certainly a dollop of absurdity present, but the overall sensation is of nature’s beauty and weirdness.
Lloyd’s newest works are thus testaments to painting’s continued relevance and possibility, and offer a compelling assertion of abstraction’s ability to conjure and connote.
Article by Kristen Osborne-Bartucca