Tom LaDuke at Kohn Gallery

Positively TARFUN Tom LaDuke

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Seeing Tom LaDuke’s debut titled Candles and Lasers at Kohn Gallery (the artist is a long time Los Angeles player. It’s his first appearance at this gallery on Highland) got me thinking. Have you ever wondered how big the Internet is? Strangely, in the realm where the livelihood of everything and everyone is the beast that is the quantifiable, qualifiable big data, the answer is extremely elusive. No one really knows. Supposedly it’s really, really big. And it keeps growing exponentially more monstrous every second. Damn you furry purry darling cat videos!

So then, what does this Internet look like? I’m not talking about the nifty infographics with fancy charts and pies and statistics. I’m asking, “What does it really look like?” Now I have a sense. LaDuke’s painted conglomerate megaton implosion of eclectic techniques and mashup forms is the Internet visualized.

As a whole, the principal organizational method of the Internet appears to be vertical. Simply put, it’s exactly like piling up stack loads of papers on top of each other on already a messy desk. As the new information is entered, the old gets buried. In LaDuke’s new paintings, the artist first lays down a layer of soft and Gaussian blur like paints depicting the scenes from the classics and other sources. Some are more recognizable than the others; like Craravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes. The history is blurred and marred.

Then the amusing piling of hallucinatory rainbow colors and mambo jumbos of concrete and fluid shapes follows. Each is executed with a great show of artisanship in myriads of styles (my friend Devon puts it succinctly, LaDuke’s got mad skills), which the artist dutifully commands. Gestural, expressive, wireframing, polygon rendering, realistic, and cartoonish, there’s no technique LaDuke won’t employ. The resulting hyper pumped, turbo charged narratives are positively FUBAR and entertaining.

To rest your eyes and mind, you need only to shift your focus and enjoy LaDuke’s sculptures. Intelligibly edited and reduced, the far more subtle and quiet objects on the pedestals pull you back, slow your heartbeat, and offer a refreshing moment of contemplation. Things temporarily returns to SNAFU until you decide to return your gaze and amusement to what’s hanging on the wall.

Tom LaDuke’s Candles and Lasers are on view at Kohn Gallery until May 20, 2015. It’s a BOMB.

All images by author for editorial purposes only.

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