Luke Painter

From September 6th to September 28th
Opening September 6th, 2013 from 6-9pm

Luke Painter’s new solo exhibition Rebound investigates the dramatic and often-bizarre ways in which historical styles are translated through design and architecture practices. Investigating specific revivalist trends, Painter digs into Louis Comfort Tiffany’s resuscitation of medieval glass techniques in late 19th century commercial applications; the 1980’s filtering of Art Deco, Pop and Minimalism in the work of designer and architect Michael Graves; and the continual mutation of Gothic architecture in the 20th century. In his new body of work, including ink drawings on paper and stained glass sculpture, Painter both references and re-contextualizes these chameleonic sources.

In the work PoMoReno (Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice) Painter uses the real star of the 1988 Beetlejuice movie — the house — as a backdrop to humorously point towards and further distort the aesthetic trends of the 1980’s. In the film, the interior of the house is transformed by a New York City family from a quaint country home to a comical portrayal of 1980’s styles channeling Art Deco, Pop Art and Minimalism. With every surface painted in faux finishes and its rooms decorated with disturbing and awkward-looking modern sculptures, the house becomes a fixed example of the fleeting tacky excess of the period.

In the work Self-Aware Plant and 1980’s Vanity (Michael Graves), Painter utilizes the iconic piece of furniture designed by Michael Graves, combining it with surreal outdoor elements and a black marble Art Deco patterned background. In the picture, a plant is seen reflected in the mirror of the vanity but is not present in the seat. Interior design trends in the 1980’s often depict a space with a single plant in the corner of the room or on a table. Painter is creating a space where the plant is an apparition (or vampire) that is simultaneously conscious of the aesthetic conventions of the past and is strangely self-aware of its place as a decorative element of design.

Painter's singular sculptural work in the exhibition, StainedGlass SunGlasses (Wysteria Ray-Bans), is an uncanny representation of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer fabricated in stained glass fashioned after Louis Comfort Tiffany’s iconic “Wysteria” leaded glass lamps. Originally popular in the 1950’s and 60's (think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's) the Wayfarer Ray-Ban brand has enjoyed fashionable comebacks in the 1980's (Tom Cruise in Risky Business) and 2000's (Chloe Sevigny and Lindsay Lohan). Painter is interested in the rekindled states of this commercial product and re-imagining the object itself using traditional handcrafted stained glass techniques.

In Rebound, Painter invokes a sense of restless resurrection through his mysterious image composites and continues to employ his immense technical skill to create highly enigmatic and historically ambiguous works on paper. Painter has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, and holds an MFA from Concordia University. His work has been featured and/or reviewed in print in publications in Canada, the USA, and Europe.