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(After) Edge City

BEERS London
1 Baldwin St
London, EC1V 9NU

Preview 27 April (6-8pm)
27th April to 26 May 2018

Beers London is delighted to present a unique and large scale installation by St Louis based artist William LaChance. This presentation of bright and abstract forms, both with a large wall mural and two-dimensional paintings, are associations of displaced forms and colors cribbed from graphic design, fashion, art history and nature itself cobbled together using a variety of methods and materials from painting and printmaking to assemblage and sewing.

(After) Edge City refers to a concentration of loosely associated shopping, commer­cial, and other (un)related businesses that displace a previously suburban area, locat­ed apart from downtown and also more ubiquitous in their appearance than the tra­ditional downtown. Culturally, the Edge City represents an inevitable and displaced sense of international growth in urban centres, pushing residential inhabitants out­ward and creating somewhat illogical mega-centres located near highways and ar­eas of high-infrastructure. Theoretically, the Edge City suggests various heightened or poorly-idealised predictions of Le Corbusier’s view of Modernity; a type of failed dream, or fantasy tempered by the dregs of reality. When we recall the idealistic view of Modernity, from Le Corbusier’s art and architecture to Calders mobiles or Picasso and Bracques’ Cubist Visions recreated in paint and collage, we think of a sort of uto­pianism. Ideologically, these modular and modernist ideologies suggest a utopian world view. As the ‘80s and ‘90s arose, grunge replaced this sense of fantastic utopia­nism and the Edge City and its gritty realism gave way to something much less glam­orous than what was imagined, offering instead a gridlock of cities and commercial centres typified by their absolute lack of ideology, lack of colour, lack of glee or formal­ism. It is, in short, where pragmatism and commercialism triumphing over idealism.

Nearly half a century later, the ideology of a Modernist utopia seems stylised, even nostalgic, a recollection of images and a pastiche of often-amusing visions of a ‘fu­ture perfect. So it seems wondrously nostalgic, even slightly and satirically retro, that William LaChance – who is a Professor of Studio Art & Art History – is commenting, quite wryly, on this nostalgic look at a utopia, a utopia as imagined by those Mod­ernist forbearers before us. Here LaChance has chosen to adorn the walls with his trademark, deconstructed formalism. For LaChance, utopia is deconstructed into parts: a glimmer of light off a car-hood, some text from a road-sign, a planar slice of blue – perhaps suggesting the horizon. The pictures in this exhibition are asso­ciations of displaced forms and colours cribbed from graphic design, fashion, art history and nature itself cobbled together using a variety of methods and materials from painting and printmaking to assemblage and sewing. It is a sort of celebration and embrasure of modernist idealism, where the paintings themselves have shift­ing hierarchies of similar concerns: of material exploration, abstract identity, formal space and narrative expression. But they suggest a type of longing, albeit acknowl­edged, for that imagined – never realized past. It is more ‘Judy Jetson’ than ‘Total Recall’, with its flattened, pop-sensibility and candy colours – a sort of acknowledge­ment of the ‘retro’, or a time when we were allowed – even encouraged – to dream about the future as a glistening hopeful assemblage of light, shape, and color.

William Lachance is best known for his brightly coloured figurative and abstract work. His figurative paintings explore the enveloping space behind and around isolated figures; to look beyond what is depicted and to create a unique narrative. Lachance’s abstract paintings however, flirt with the ideas that take place on the surface. The narratives still appear, however, they weave their way through abstract forms on the way to somewhere right in front of the viewer. Usually taking the form of acrylic on large-scale wooden board, LaChance’s bold shapes, vivid colours and abstract modernist compositions take inspiration from vintage graphic design and illustration.

WILLIAM LACHANCE (b. 1971, St Louis, Missouri) lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. He graduated with a BFA from The Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from Indiana University. Solo exhibitions include: Art Athina, Athens, Greece (2017), Rod Bianco Gallery, Oslo, Norway (2017), Direktorenhaus, Berlin, Germany, (2017), Junior Space, Melbourne, Australia (2017). Group exhibitions include: Housa Gallery, Two Person Exhibition (2014), SIBA Gallery, New Abstract Works (2014), ‘Observing The Observer’ with Anne Rowe, SIBA Gallery, (2013). LaChance first showed with BEERS London in the group show ’75 Works on Paper’ in 2017.

Tel: +44(0)2075029078

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