The first museum survey of the work of Los Angeles-based
sculptor Liz Larner, this exhibition examines a range of
Larner's category-defying sculptural objects and
installations from the past 15 years. Larner employs a
broad palette of materials, from rubber and mold to steel
chains, fabric, and vinyl, and her work has the uncanny
ability to hold opposites in balance, from tough to
delicate, the handmade to the high-tech.
Organized by MOCA, this survey of Larner's work is the
first to be mounted in the United States. The exhibition
offers a rare opportunity to see the scope of her
achievements in sculpture over the last 15 years.
Larner’s work encompasses a range of category-defying
sculptures and installations that address the
relationships between volume and mass, color and
form, and the viewer and the object. Larner also
employs a broad palette of materials, from rubber and
mold, to steel chains, fabric, and vinyl.
Liz Larner is easily one of the most important sculptors
to emerge from Los Angeles in the past 15 years, said
Jeremy Strick, MOCA director. Her work deftly engages
in the formal issues of art-making in a new and deeply
compelling way. I am confident that visitors will find this
exhibition of Larner's thought-provoking and immensely
In her work, Larner utilizes unexpected color and
unconventional materials to challenge the viewer’s
notions of space and volume. In Reticule (1999), rigid
loops of red and blue cast polyurethane occupy a
sizeable portion of the gallery, yet remain porous. The
distinctions between the colors in the work a lso vacillate
depending on the viewer's proximity to the work.
Larner's work has an uncanny ability to challenge the
nation of opposites. Her late 1980s culture pieces,
such as Gold, Collagen, Water-Soluble Fluorescent Dye,
use disparate materials such as organic matter and
chemicals that act upon each other in a form of gelatin
that encourages bacterial growth. Tension mounts
between the opposite concepts of decay and the desire
to control it.
Similarly, her sculptures often occupy significant
amounts of space without the density or solidity of
conventional sculptures. The aluminum wire cubes in
Ignis (Fake) (1999) for instance, are transformed into
a seemingly tangled form that coalesces into a hovering
shape. This redefinition of density introduces the
illusion of mass to an otherwise feather-light sculpture.
In the sculpture 2 as 3 and Some Too (1997-1998), the
composition changes as the viewer walks around the
work. At initial glance, two cubes appear to connect,
creating a third space. The title suggests the range of
definitions of the two- and the three-dimensional
Park (1996) will be installed outside the galleries on
MOCA’s sculpture court. This work, made from a 40-foot
agave (or a century plant) lying sideways, is
transformed into an unusual planter in which other more
modest plants can grow. Larner will also debut a new
work for the exhibition which extends several
long-standing interests but takes advantage of
computer animation technology to expand her
vocabulary of forms.
The exhibition was organized for MOCA by Russell
Ferguson, UCLA Hammer Museum deputy director of
exhibitions and programs and chief curator.
Background on the Artist
Born in 1960, Larner lives and works in Los Angeles.
She graduated from the California Institute of Arts in
1985 and teaches at the Art Center College of Design in
Pasadena. Larner has created a highly respected and
resonant body of work. She has exhibited extensively
both internationally and nationally in galleries and
museums such as the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland
and MAK Center in Vienna, and she received the
Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999.
Corridor Red/Green, 1991
Leather, rock, lead, metal, car paint,
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los