Karen Lofgren
Other Relevant Experience

April 2, 2016 – May 15, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 4:00pm – 7:30pm


Karen Lofgren: Other Relevant Experience (For exhibition images, please click here.)
Royale Projects Downtown Los Angeles

Artist Walkthrough with Karen Lofgren in Conversation with Robert Crouch and Closing Reception: Sunday, May 15, 2016; 2:30pm–5:00pm

Royale Projects : Contemporary Art is pleased to present Other Relevant Experience, Karen Lofgren’s first major solo exhibition of new sculptural objects and installations at its gallery in downtown Los Angeles. The opening reception will take place from 4:00pm to 7:30pm on Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 432 Alameda Street (entrance on Seaton between 4th and 5th Streets). The exhibition is on view through May 14, 2016.Other Relevant Experience offers an exchange of physical and psychic energies, employing conductive or insulating materials like copper and felt, and more corporeal materials such as leather and wood. The exhibition features sculptures and installations at various scales, as well as investigations in collage that employ medicinal plants and pornography in the series Could You Name What Is To Cure; and a semi-figurative series entitled Approaching the Limbless Gods, which began with research on interactions with ancient Roman cult statuary in which believers would ascribe a living and breathing condition to objects through daily dialogue and ritual action. The statues were said to be speaking, or creaking, and even appearing as sexual objects of desire. Over time, use, abuse, shifts in beliefs, and the fall of the nation state, these god bodies begin to crumble as all bodies deteriorate, their limbs broken and lost to the dust of time.

Approaching the Limbless Gods demonstrates inverse gestures of these deteriorated forms of reverence by additive process with wood and resin over abstract shapes, tracing women’s bodies and repeating actions thousands of times over by hand to construct vessels that could suggest absent worship. With titles inclusive of The Ecstasy of the Uncontained; The Offering; and Positions for Believers, the works invite an empathetic physical relationship with viewers.

As writer Jared Baxter recently described at VOLUME: “Belief systems, insofar as they effectuate a lived reconciliation of tradition with the direct experience of the present, demand a specific relationship to place, whether in the imposing force of a Gothic cathedral or the mobile, relational sign of a compass. Something of these concerns informs a significant, ongoing strain in Karen Lofgren’s sculptural practice.”

Under Influence, an installation made of leather and copper, is an approach to the idea of the concentric circle through the lens of the Lacanian concept of the “sinthome”, or a co-occurrence of the circles of the real, the imaginary, and the symbolic. The materials within the work continue the artist’s interest in the concept of ritual sacrifice in relation to quotidian life under late capitalism. She writes, “The skins of many different animals are used in the work, from pigs, to cows, deer, and lamb, that each had parents, legs, and thoughts.  These objects in turn are supported on the wall with life castings in copper plated bronze, gesturing and grabbing the objects.”

Heightening a focus on energy exchange, elegant linear works in metal like Lightning Charm are contrasted with multiple felt and resin sculptural objects such as in Feedback Feedback Feedback, and quietly imply animation or embodiment. Taken together with works like On Pain of Extraction, rendered in rope and copper, or No True North, a 12-part installation in wool felt and secretly lined with copper, traversing the walls and floor of the front gallery, the sculptures in Other Relevant Experience draw attention to their own materiality as well as to the bodies of viewers in the space while suggesting an alternate world view where the compass is broken, and there might be no way back.

About Karen Lofgren
Karen Lofgren is a visual artist who was raised on Toronto Island and at a Tibetan Dharma Center, among many urban and rural locations including Tinley Park, Illinois, and Salmon Arm, British Columbia, by esoteric parentage and within experimental social structures. Deeply influenced by the diverse countercultural environments in which she came of age, this process and research-centered work taps into personal, social, and cultural anxieties regarding mortality and time, value, gender, power, privilege, and infrastructure. Through videos, sound works, as well as sculptures, installations, and artist books, the work incorporates a reverence for ritual, material, and process, while participating in a greater dialogue of the Americas in the decolonial world from a feminist standpoint. Fundamentally centered around belief structures and systems, her experiential, research-based, and philosophical influences on the work are consistently expanding.
Recent solo exhibitions include Other Relevant Experience and Ritual Landscape at Royale Projects Contemporary Art; On the River at VOLUME; Trajectory Object c. 2000-2050 with High Desert Test Sites; and Stabilizers at Armory Center for the Arts, as well as shows at LACE; Pitzer Art Galleries; PØST; and Machine Project. Group exhibitions include Commonwealth & Council; LACMA; Palm Springs Art Museum; Human Resources; Bank of America; Carter & Citizen; Vancouver Biennale; Royal College of Art; and OCAD University. Her projects have received support from the Canada Council for the Arts; Durfee Foundation; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Ranch Projects; and West of Rome Public Art. She has been featured in Droste Effect, artforum.com critic’s picks, LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, as well as books, catalogues, and album covers.
About Robert Crouch
Robert Crouch is an artist and curator whose work encompasses sound, performance, and technology. As an artist, he locates his work with the intersection of post-phenomenological listening practices, conceptual sound art, and contemporary electronic music. At its core, his work can be understood as a conversation between tonality, context, history and subjectivities. Similarly, Crouch’s curatorial work focuses on the overlapping disciplines of sound, technology, movement, and performance. In 2014 he organized the North American premiere of Sphæræ, a large-scale inflatable performance space and public artwork by Dutch artist Cocky Eek. He is currently co-curating Juan Downey: Radiant Nature, a survey of early interactive and performance work of the late Chilean artist as part of the Getty initiative, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.
Crouch is the former Associate Director/Curator at LACE, where he curated solo exhibitions with artists Karen Lofgren, Gina Osterloh, Steve Roden, Sean Sullivan, and Margo Victor, and performances with artists including William Basinski, Celer, Lawrence English, Dominick Fernow, and Yann Marussich. He is also the founding partner of VOLUME, a curatorial project that functions as a catalyst for interdisciplinary new media work through exhibitions, performances, events, lectures, and publications, and has worked with a wide range of artists including William Basinski, Nate Boyce, Frank Bretschneider, Richard Chartier, Heather Cassils, Celer, Loren Chasse, William Fowler Collins, Tim Hecker, Isis, France Jobin, Kadet Kuhne, Lucky Dragons, Mamiffer, Carsten Nicolai, Yann Novak, taisha paggett, Steve Roden, Terre Thaemlitz, Julie Tolentino, and Christopher Willits.
Crouch is currently the Executive and Artistic Director for Pasadena Arts Council and the Artistic Director for the AxS Festival.