LOUISE P. SLOANE
A VISUAL SQUARE DANCE? SLOANE CAN EVEN MAKE SQUARES SING – AND SPEAKS FRANKLY ABOUT WHAT GIVES STRUCTURE TO HER PAINTINGS AND HER LIFE.
Louise P. Sloane is the consummate geometric abstractionist of our day! In one of her past exhibitions, which I attended, the possi- ble influence of Josef Albers on her works was mooted. While not denying the point, Sloane herself traces her artistic lineage back to Piet Mondrian – the undisputed epitome of geometric abstractionism. Her works are all squares that are evenly split into quadrants, with a smaller square in the center produced using the most luminous colors of the acrylic rainbow. Sloane prefers pure, undiluted colors that deliver the most intense hues. The mixing takes place on the painting itself. Each square is filled with row upon row of straight lines that look like horizontal cursive writing. Each slant is unique, as indeed are all her works. Though the artist clearly likes the uniformity of the square, she also enjoys segmenting it. Her works are known to have a direct correlation to Allen Ginsberg's collected poems and stories, which she transcribes into her own blend of verse, written out in long hand – her own form of conceptual creativity. Personally, I've never seen anything like this before: three, four or even five layers of paint on aluminum panels – a labor-intensive method indeed! Sloane, it is fair to say, goes beyond the realms of minimalism toward a more conceptual practice.
But let us hear what she herself has to say: »The visual language of my paintings embraces the legacies of reductive and minimalist ide- ologies, while celebrating the beauty of color and the human connec- tion to mark making. Dyslexia has proven to be the greatest challenge in both my private and professional lives. My fascination with the way the brain registers written language, color, movement and spatial relationships is at the heart of my work. In a world where there is little
harmony, these concepts give structure to my paintings as well as to my life. The art explosion in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s bombarded me with exciting artistic energy. While studying at the School of Visual Arts, I became intrigued by the subtle color palette of Brice Marden's paintings, the geometric symmetry of Larry Zox's work and the grand size and color of Robert Murray’s sculp- tures. A color course exposed me to the work and studio experiments of Josef Albers and the colony systems of Johannes Itten. Joseph Kosuth's proclamation to me in my studio that 'painting is dead' provoked a passionate motivation to prove him wrong.« Well, that's certainly one way to kick-start a career in painting!
Sloane's first major solo exhibition was at the Semaphore Gallery in Soho in 1981. At that time, her paintings were dominated by subtle tonalities and shifts in grays to which she sometimes added pearl essence or metallic powder. The triangles she etched seemed to float above the vigorous brush strokes, fusing her interests in geometry, color and light. Her second major solo exhibition – entitled »Louise
P. Sloane – Paintings in Encaustic« – took place in 1983 at St. Peter's Church in New York City. The paintings selected for this show fea- tured predominantly darker tones.
The artist's works are on display in the permanent collection at the Heckscher Museum of Art. They also appear in numerous significant public spaces, including the Jane Voorhies Zimmerli Art Museum, Savannah College of Art and Design, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Yeshiva University. New York galleries that show her paintings include the OK Harris and Semaphore Gallery, the Elaine Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton, the Sideshow Gallery in Brooklyn and the Painting Center.
Louise P. Sloane was born on November 11, 1952, in Queens, New York. Her primary education at the Lakeville School was followed by sec- ondary schooling at Great Neck High School. She then attended the School of Visual Arts, graduating with a bachelor's degree in painting in 1974. Having painted since the early 1970s, Sloane possesses a special New York City street-side intelligence thanks to her academ- ic credentials. Her affection for monochromatic tableaux and depth
is coupled with bright colors and distinctive textural productions. She has a son, a daughter and a gracious husband who assists her lovingly, regularly hauling her works of art from her studio to various museums and galleries!
»My paintings have to really sing,« Louise told me. »They have to slam me with straight up rock and roll, with the grit of Janis Joplin and the vibrato of Joni Mitchell.«
I gaze incessantly at your work, Louise. And yes, I hear the music and see the movement. They sing to me, a song full of life, with high falsettos, the deepest, throbbing basses and a rhythm anyone can dance to. Well done!
54 VIEWS MAGAZINE