I like Lauren Gregory’s art, and you may wonder what the point of reading any further could possibly be; I’ll tell you. It’s different. Not different, like bad, like what we think people say when they have nothing more intelligible to offer, but this may actually be something different, something you’ve never seen before. There’s something striking about seeing thickly finger-painted oils on a canvass of faux fur, maybe even be primal. My first impression of “Man,” an oil on fur, was that it was a cave painting, made just after we started traveling, perhaps on our way to becoming nomads; we strung up canvasses of freshly skinned whatever-it-was we were eating for dinner back then, and painted on it.
But that was just my first impression. Gregory’s work makes you think. It’s possible that you may never want to have “Mother” on your wall, but you’d have no problem engaging in suddenly frequent trips to your friend’s house to see it on theirs. It’s almost nightmarish, some of what she creates, but those so-compelling nightmares we continue to visit fondly, if only because sharing stories can be so entertaining.
Some paintings are the work of an incredibly delicate touch, such as “White Guy,” an oil on wood, of people for whom she might feel nothing but love; others are the work of an incredibly and confidently thrown slash, and the tension rises out of these paintings because of that intensity. Gregory also makes films, brief animations in which she photographs a painting, then over-paints it like any animator would their progressive cells, but Gregory uses only one canvas. The end result is entrancing, her heavy colors and broad strokes evolving on the screen like a primitive and incredibly expressive stereopticon. It’s perfect that Gregory, fresh from acquiring her MFA from SAIC, found her first solo show landing in Swimming Pool Project Space, which seems equally committed to making you think. (Damien James)
Through January 17 at Swimming Pool Project Space, 2858 W. Montrose