Friday, July 22, 2016

The Stage Is Set

A photo posted by Jason Ramos (@thejasonramos) on

The suite of paintings that first greet the viewer of Me, Myself and I, Jay Lizo’s solo exhibition at LAM Gallery, swirl with spatial effect and motion. Blizzards of graphically rendered cartoon leaves, branches, pebbles, and bits fall through each work. Based on Hiroshige prints, the feeling of chaotic movement in the works is palpable, completely recasting the usual tranquil stillness of the source images. Underlying compositional structures control the whirlwind imagery to assert the mixed media works as abstract paintings. The shattered remains of any identifiable pictorial information align as abstract image fragments within optically dazzling, ambiguous, multi-level spaces.  

A photo posted by Jason Ramos (@thejasonramos) on

The paintings of Dreaming Of A Year of Hiroshige serve as the introduction to the rest of the exhibition, comprised of three distinct bodies of work in total. The following main room is likewise alive with vibrant color and visual activity. In the middle of the room, resin-cast microphones fittingly amplify the content of Song From My Hero Collection, a grid of portraits of Lizo’s role models. Identifiable likenesses among the portraits are Richard Pryor, Ira Glass, Billie Holiday, Wolverine, Bruce Lee, Mark Twain, Angela Davis, Etta James and many others only indicated by their first names in the titles. Rendered graphically and in bright, flat color, they are all awkwardly caught unposed in the act of speaking or performing among abstract geometric elements that read as colored stage lights or spotlights. Taken together with the microphone sculptures, the paintings read as a vividly clamorous chorus, transforming the space into a performative arena. Spoken words, sung lyrics and physical actions are translated into vivd portraits of chromatic contrast augmented by sculptural suggestions of human presence and voice.

A photo posted by Jason Ramos (@thejasonramos) on

The Luscher Record Test, of which various iterations have been presented before, most notably at the fondly remembered Weekend in Los Feliz in 2013, is well tweaked here as a complement to the hero portraits. Presented alone this project is probably the highest-concept of Lizo’s work, in spite of it’s natural visual affinity here as a component of the allegorical performative concept of Song From My Hero Collection. The intuited logic of presenting performers, microphones, and records in the same room solidifies the overlap of Lizo’s interests in music, painting, performance and self-portraiture – the latter of which is used to describe the color-rich circular paintings of The Luscher Record Test, as evidenced by the exhibition’s overall title, taken from the accompanying animated video that beams from overhead, like a spotlight. The idiosyncratic, conceptual implementation and love of records and music in Lizo’s practice puts him and his work in the interesting company of artists such as Dave Muller and Sean Duffy, whose work has included record albums as both subject and object. Overall, the three presentations of Me, Myself, and I showcase Lizo’s articulate use of formal and conceptual languages to uncover personal and poetic intersections of color, portraiture, objectness, and performative presence.

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