Mernet Larsen “Thinking about Cézanne”

James Cohan Gallery

poster for Mernet Larsen “Thinking about Cézanne”

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James Cohan presents Thinking About Cézanne, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Mernet Larsen, on view at the gallery’s 52 Walker Street location. This is Larsen’s fourth solo exhibition with James Cohan.

Over six decades of art-making, Mernet Larsen has developed a distinctive dialogue with art history drawing from traditional 13th-century narrative Japanese scrolls, the 18th-century Royal paintings of Udaipur, India, and the non-objective paintings of the Russian Constructivist El Lissitzky. Larsen harnesses their unlikely geometries to depict our everyday reality, populating her vertiginous and uncanny world with characters that reflect contemporary angst and humor in equal measure. For this exhibition, Larsen looks back on her lifelong fascination with the work of Paul Cézanne.

Larsen recalls, “When I was in my late twenties, I was obsessed with Cézanne. I felt his work represented a true revolution in what ‘realistic’ painting should be, reflecting seeing as a constructive act, built out of a roving eye – scanning the motif, piecing it together, building an image that seemed the essence of what was seen.” Over fifty years later Larsen revisits this formative influence, wondering, “how have I changed? How has the world changed?”

Eight new paintings and related studies reflect Larsen’s generative and ongoing “conversation with Cézanne,” yet remain completely her own. Larsen reexamines his most canonical imagery – bathers, the French countryside, his family members – to expose and animate their underlying and essential frameworks. Larsen moves and multiplies the physical place from which Cézanne stood in relation to the subject at hand, going beyond his singular and frontal point of observation. In this way, she becomes omnipresent within the scene, untethered by traditional perspective or gravity. Her images are comprehensive and panoramic, inclusive of numerous and discordant locations, timelines, and sightlines.



from February 15, 2024 to March 16, 2024


Mernet Larsen

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