Loftus_No One and Nowhere_press release_final
Ed Loftus “No One and Nowhere”
12 December, 2015 – 23 January 2016
Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present “No One and Nowhere,” a series of new graphite drawings by Oakland-based artist Ed Loftus. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
For over a decade, the self-taught Loftus has been creating idiosyncratic, photorealistic graphite drawings that address the larger themes and subtexts of the human condition, including fear, inevitability, and the single-minded nature of obsession. Loftus derives his work and ideas from old family photographs, borrowed images, and photos that he himself has taken. This meticulous archive of images, rearranged and layered in the artist’s collages, sometimes acts as prima materia for a discrete series of “reimagined memories”; other times, Loftus’ creations are purely symbolic and capture the moment with no need for translation or mediated commentary.
These are works that also point to the inability to fully know the past, as well as our own place within it. Author Rabih Alameddine writes, “Loftus’s work is about emotional dislocation, about belonging and not belonging, about fitting and not fitting, about being a part of this world and being apart. It is about psychological straddling. Dislocation: Loftus is both enmeshed in the world he lives in and stands apart from it.”
Despite this sense of emotional dislocation, ideally, Loftus’ drawings are to be viewed within touching distance, inviting a sense of visual curiosity and intimate engagement. He says, “The process is somewhat painstaking; every mark and gesture is intended, and often requires close inspection…I usually don’t explain the work, as I find it is better left for interpretation.”
“Legacy Patterns and Hand-Me-Downs” features a nostalgic snapshot of a family gathered around a television set, which is disrupted by a disproportionately large image of a sunbathing man just outside the window—conveying a quality of parallel histories and plotlines that become distorted once they are juxtaposed or brought into uncomfortable proximity with each other. “Fast Asleep in the Sun” offers a comical black-and-white rendition of a dozing couple on lawn chairs that are spattered with bright color- penciled lines, offering the only splash of vibrancy in the drawing.
In a few of Loftus’s drawings, the subject matter mysteriously and sometimes abruptly evaporates into white space. The artist Paul Klee once said, “Drawing is taking a line for a walk.” However, Loftus takes his lines for long and vigorous voyages into deep forests into which they disappear altogether—presenting the viewer with a riddle whose context must be deduced. Visual tropes, such as the ubiquitous sunbathing man and garbage bags stuffed with discarded goods, appear and reappear, offering breadcrumbs that almost seem to augur a path to the mystery of documented histories. They underscore the sometimes disquieting lull of nostalgia—which is encased in the stories preserved in our memory, as well as the discoveries that surface upon closer inspection of a past that isn’t as crystal clear as we may have believed it to be.
Ed Loftus is formally from the United Kingdom and lives and works in Oakland, California. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and has been featured in the New York Times and other publications. Loftus is in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Berkeley Art Museum where his work will be included in the museum’s inaugural exhibition, The Architecture of Life.