Deconstructing and constructing collective narratives a few paint peels at a time
Layers upon layers, the artist stacks up materials and paint-skins in his studio. Larry Weidel started his artistic practice decades ago as a photographer, shooting black and white large-scale landscapes of landmarks worldwide. Art has always been a part of Weidel's life, but starting a couple of years ago Weidel decided to try different materials and began a new body of work. Aside from photographs, Weidel found inspiration in printed images and graphics and on the streets.
Yes, literally, on the streets. While using found objects as a medium in art-making is not news, Weidel has the unusual distinction of using
old paints from street walls as his medium. He collects the falling pieces from murals under a bridge or picks up old papers on columns filled with advertising notes. He has gathered these "scraps" of walls from Miami and Palm Beach in Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. The core of his practice is deconstruction and reconstruction. Weidel's process is nearly an anthropological gesture. After examining the thick layers of paint or paper found, he carefully arranges and combines them and chisels the surface away to reveal the images underneath. These layers of "skins" were accumulated by time, with murals painted over and over on top for years. By carving and sculpting the material, Weidel takes on dynamic experimentation, as each peeled layer might be a complete surprise. Weidel's work demonstrates the importance of collecting social information by re-interpreting stories through the used paint and found objects. A lot of information is uncovered while the artist continues to add on more media on top, weaving out a visual impression of conversations between shared memories of local communities and Weidel's self-perspective. Weidel's works can also be seen as a collective project. He selects, gathers, and arranges old fragments of street art to create a playful and bold presentation: a portal that connects the audience to the artist's neighborhood, allowing the viewers to peek into his perspective on the magnificence of daily life. Axion Gallery is showing Larry Weidel's painting in booth C023 during Miami Art Week 2021 at Scope Miami Beach, from November 30 to December 05.
About the author: Yi Chin Hsieh is a Taiwanese independent curator living and working in Miami. Her research interests include curatorial methods under the discussion of exhibition forms, collectiveness in curatorial practices, and contemporary visual culture in response to the current time. She holds a BFA in Visual Design from National Taiwan Normal University and an MFA in Visual Arts from Florida International University (FIU).