Relatively brief but prolific, Lee Lozano’s career produced a multifaceted oeuvre unconstrained by a single signature style. From the early 1960s until her death in the late 1990s, Lozano borrowed ideas from different art movements and idioms, only to subvert them to stunning effect. ‘ALL VERBS’ presents a selection of paintings from both her figurative and minimalist bodies of work, alongside accompanying studies and drawings.
By 1965 Lozano’s work became more minimalist and geometric, focusing on what she called ‘energy paintings.’ Using three-inch housepainters’ brushes, the artist painted repeated parallel strokes while the pigment was still tacky on the canvas, rendering finely ridged, slightly reflective surfaces that imparted different optical effects and a feeling of accelerated motion.
Cones and cylinders act as agents of speed and violence, sometimes corresponding to their triangular shaped canvases – assembled to create a singular, rectangular composition. Both a striking challenge to painting’s basic elements and a profound exploration of matter itself, these minimalist works, all of which have a verb as their title, comprised Lozano’s first one-person exhibition at the influential Bianchini Gallery in New York.
In response to these astonishing canvases, critic Dennis Adrian wrote in Artforum that Lozano’s exhibition was ‘an opportunity to see…commitment to a reductive, abstract mode of expression which nonetheless permits a very rich kind of pictorial experience…a genuine and polished ability to compress, within a deliberately restricted range of forms, a ferment of energetic perception.’
The show includes a selection of figurative works from Lozano’s beginnings as an artist in New York during the early 1960s, a time of immense transition and experimentation within a very male-dominated art world. Executed with raw expressionist brush strokes, Lozano’s early paintings are imbued with a very personal iconography – including phalluses, religious symbols, tools, and airplanes – that blurred the boundaries between body and machine.
Explore this richly illustrated timeline to learn more about Lee Lozano’s life and career, while also contextualizing her work in the New York art scene of the 1960s.
Lee Lozano’s paintings are admired for their energy, daring physicality and tirelessness in investigating the body and issues of gender. Although lauded by Lucy Lippard in 1995 as the foremost female conceptual artist of her time, Lozano had disengaged herself from the New York art world completely by the early 1970s. She left behind a body of work of striking formal breadth and complexity.
Lee LozanoALL VERBS
On view now through 29 July 2022 at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street.