Linda Besemer: StrokeRollFoldSheetSlabGlitch

February 12–June 25, 2022  |  Main Gallery

Bugaboo (2021)   Acrylic on canvas over panel   15 x 18 inch
Linda Besemer, Bugaboo, 2021. Acrylic on canvas over panel, 15 x 18 inches.©Linda Besemer. Photograph by Brica Wilcox. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles.

StrokeRollFoldSheetSlabGlitch is the first survey of works by Los Angeles-based artist Linda Besemer. This exhibition emphasizes Besemer's ongoing commitment to exploring alterity through conscious "othering" of abstraction and reflects upon the artist’s search for new meaning in painting over the past thirty-five years. Featuring twenty-three works produced between 1993–2021, the exhibition showcases key moments in Besemer’s career, taking visitors on a journey through the evolution of their practice, starting with early traditional gestural abstraction, exploring their “detachables” works, and culminating with their most recent glitch series. Visitors are also invited to delve into Besemer’s process and explore a collection of the artist’s maquettes, annotated drawings, and gouache color studies.

Besemer’s meticulously built works defy expectations. Their bright palette catches the eye with surprising stripes of color and vivid optical illusions. The artist refers to works created from the late 1990s into the 2000s as “detachables”—detached from their original surfaces—these layered compositions become distinctly painterly and sculptural. First, hand painted on plate glass and then peeled away, they capture the gestures themselves. Besemer also calls these works “acrylic paint bodies,” as isolated brushstrokes, layed paint sheets, and poured slabs transform into their own “bodies” and embrace of nonbinary, queer realities. This singular process responds to feminist critical theory that links abstract painting with cis masculinity. As they are lifted off their ground, these brilliant stokes are liberated from gendered relationships, disengaged from underlying discourse about systemic patriarchal inequities equated with the figure/ground binary.

diagonal carved paint artwork called Lil' Hurricane by Linda
Linda Besemer, Lil’ Hurricane, 2009. Cast acrylic paint, 10.6 x 7.09 x 2.6 inches. ©Linda Besemer. CNC routed by Gregory Kucera. Courtesy of Jean-Luc Richard and Takako Richard. Photograph by Jean-Luc Richard.

The glitch paintings imagine a space that is endless and moves in a million different directions. These paintings and their spaces are unfamiliar. They are not grounded in the gravity of a Renaissance fixed perspective, but rather open up the two-dimensional plane with a new expansive spatial awareness.
 –Linda Besemer

In Besemer’s recent body of work—the glitch series—the artist creates a new space of meaning beyond the horizontal, vertical, diagonal movement of their earlier work using the 3D animation program Maya. Besemer collected digital images capturing errant effects generated during shape renderings as the basis for this series. From these, the artist cuts, pastes, and collages new compositions for their hand-colored paintings. The glitch works are meant, in the artist’s words "to abstract the abstract” to make painting itself new again by transforming digital modes into analog strokes. They appear to be digitally produced at first glance, but brushwork within the works reveal their true handmade quality. Besemer’s pictorial space is rife with the tension of dissolution and re-materialization inherent in this new process. Curves, lines, blips, buzzes, and swaths of saturated color within the mind-bending glitch abstractions invite viewers to lose themselves in an electrifying visual matrix.

Linda Besemer: StrokeRollFoldSheetSlabGlitch is accompanied by a 92-page full color catalogue designed by Amy McFarland of Clean{Slate}Design, with essays from Director Paul Baker Prindle, curator Kristina Newhouse, and leading LGBTQ+ scholar Lex Morgan Lancaster, author of the upcoming Duke University Press publication, Dragging Away: Queer Abstraction in Contemporary Art.

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