How long, and to what degree, must a being imprint itself upon the geometries of our lived architecture before imparting suggestions of a warm body? In the ten paintings that comprise Homeless, Loy Luo's solo exhibition with Undercurrent, the artist portrays a faded landscape that reveals an indeterminate existence within and between hegemonic structures. With an unquiet, almost compulsive painterly hand, Luo creates paintings whose medium seems to molder onto the panels, recording our complicity in the peripheralization of living beings. Disintegration comes to its visual crescendo where the delineation between body and locale seems to muddy and blur, having us witness the dissolution of human bodies. In pieces such as Entanglement, and The Troubadour, we see all supportive infrastructure fall away, leaving the figure in a constant flux of disintegration, the anonymity of the individual reflecting the formal breakdown of the environment. Stacked upon wooden blocks, Luo’s paintings refute their status as mere aesthetic depiction of a scene, instead becoming intrinsically linked with the gallery’s scaffolding and thus insisting upon our participation both within and around these stories of isolation. In these heavy cityscapes, Luo tenderly surfaces figures who have been overlooked and inserts them in corporeality we cannot help but face.
Many things can be said about the city of New York but the most applicable here would be an allegiance to the unceasing restructuring of its buildings and the lives within them: as De Certeau describes it, a constant verticality in which those deemed unfit are swiftly discarded. As the city performs relentless alterations, its inhabitants strain to survive inside fragile micro-diasporas. Those who inhabit the chasm between public and private space embody an indeterminacy that, at best, defies co-option and, at worst, is testament to political failure. Luo’s metaphysical preoccupations with human existence and her quiet, agile handling of the medium elicit a needling dis-ease in her viewer. Faceless and solitary, the boundaries between person and infrastructure becomes indissoluble, causing the figure to recede into the grid of the city. We know these solitary figures from our daily movements around the city and recognize our disengagement from them. As the artist centralizes faceless histories in her impersonal cityscapes; we grapple with a choice: do we intervene in the inevitable disintegration of these figures into their encroaching backgrounds or simply watch from afar? Luo's figures, often in stasis, stand outside of both the demands and rewards of conditioned human behavior, pushing us to question our accession to this system. (Adriana Furlong)
Experimental Film: Loy Luo's Newyolk 2020
Artron Interview: Homeless, LoyLuo's Art Creation in the United State
Acrylic on canvas