Ted Larsen : Handmade Mechanicals
May 14 – Jul 3, 2015
Inherent in the sculptural work of New Mexico’s Ted Larsen, is both the history of his salvaged industrial metals and a questioning of specific movements in art history. Larsen actively engages the eye of the viewer by generously allowing for a sense of history of his materials and revealing aspects of how his sculptures are built – exposed plywood support structures or riveted systems, the artist’s hand is always present. Intellectually, there is full engagement as the artist questions through form and manner, the accepted tenets of such art movements as Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, Op Art or Constructivism. While Larsen’s work is located between the abstract and reductive, its expressive wit and use of materials such as scrap metal from junked boats, weathered cars and demolished architectural structures, playfully remove the restrictions of art theory. Simultaneously, the work can also be experienced as reflective of theory, depending on the desired depth of investigation. Larsen’s small and larger scale wall and floor sculptures are thoughtfully and beautifully made, often with equal intent to recall the improvisational – a method of process ingeniously summed up in the title of this solo exhibition: “Handmade Mechanicals.”
The artist states: “The works I create supply commentary on minimalist belief systems and the ultimate importance of High Art practice. An artist’s work usually adheres to the construct of a cohesive direction with the work illustrating a single theme or underscoring a didactic agenda. But such a logical order has no specific place in my studio practice. Introducing alternative and salvage materials to my own formally driven abstract sculpture, I hope to bring purist shapes and surfaces back down to earth. I quest for new materials, “non-art materials” to create my work. I am constructing bricolage works in order to re-purpose the materials and re-identify their meanings: to re-contextualize and re-label the idea of Ready-mades. It is my on-going experimentation with contexts, hybrids, and scale. The works keep possession of pleasing formality and visceral elegance while making fun of modernist purity.”
Ted Larsen graduated magna cum laude from Northern Arizona University. A recipient of the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant Award, the Edward Albee Foundation Residency Fellowship and an Artist Stipend Award, Wichita Falls Arts Council, Wichita Falls, Texas and the Surdna Foundation, New York, New York, Educational Travel Grant, Larsen’s work is in the collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, Proctor & Gamble, The Bolivian Consulate, Reader’s Digest, PepsiCo, The University of Miami, Krasel Art Center, Dreyfus Funds, JP Morgan Chase, Forbes and Pioneer Hi-Bred, Inc. Larsen was also chosen to be the United States representative at the Asilah Arts Festival, Asilah, Morocco in 2011.