KANSAS is pleased to present Lost in America, a solo exhibition of new work by Sylvan Lionni. Opening April 5, the exhibition runs through May 12.
Sylvan Lionni reinterprets established hierarchies and dissolves cultural hegemony through appropriative techniques which deconstruct symbolic objects and their clichés. Familar icons are illuminated by a new vocabulary that serves to charter networks of analogy between lived and imagined form.
His paintings are neither pictures, nor primary structures, nor allusions. But often they are all of those things. These are works crafted in paradox, in the presence of which we are both present and absent, lost in thought and absolutely concretely there, as Lionni is when he makes them. While slow, they are fast. While fleet and associative, they are dense and absorptive. While complicated to make they look simple and can be seen at a glance. – Amy Sillman
Lionni’s hard-edged practice finds resource in social geometry – the means by which we order our daily lives in response to the quiet spatial and structural relationships that passively inform our thoughts, movements, and impulses. Fascinated by the overlooked details embedded in the American mundane, his latest body of work aims to qualify material, aesthetic, and conceptual properties within our revolving banality. A tidy pile of monochromatic laundry bags, a cheap, optical shower curtain, vibrant restaurant computer keypads, and glossy household printer paper are all visual moments the artist has transformed into man-made reproductions. The works in this exhibition translate the humdrum index of commercial manufacture into artifacts of our cultural gestalt.
The effects of post-Fordism and pluralist modes of production have forced examination of the use/value relationship within contemporary art. Lionni removes the signifiers of culture’s mass-production in an effort to slow down and embrace the currency of labor. He describes and depicts an American life framed by daily ritual and placid routine. Lionni belives this humble mode brands the idea of being Lost in America today.
You wake up in New York and go drop off the laundry – there are these stacks of bags which remind you of Ellsworth Kelly grid paintings. You go buy some printer paper and a new shower curtain at CVS down the street and on your way home you pass the corner deli that has a sign advertising flowers. You go home, but your printer isn’t working so you hit the test button. While you’re waiting for the printer, you go hang up the new shower curtain and when you come out of the bathroom Being There is playing on TV and the static reminds you of the shower curtain you just hung. – Sylvan Lionni
Sylvan Lionni received his MFA from Bard College, NY and BA from the School of Visual Arts, NY. His solo exhibitions include Freight + Volume, New York, NY; Rebecca Ibel Gallery, Columbus, OH; Fusebox, Washington, DC and Rome Arts, Brooklyn, NY. His work has been seen in such venues as Sue Scott Gallery, New York, NY; Daimler Contemporary, Berlin, GE; Stene Projects, Stockholm, SE; Zurcher Studios, New York, NY; MUMOK, Vienna, AU; The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR; The Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL; White Columns, New York, NY and David Castillo, Miami, FL among many others.
This is Sylvan Lionni’s first solo show with KANSAS. He currently lives and works in Eugene, OR.