“I hope to provoke the viewer to consider the contradictions arising from our contemporary fixation with notions of health.“ – Lori Larusso
When you hear the term “political art”, what comes to mind? Campaign and propaganda posters from contentious times; “Buy Bonds” during World War II, “Join The Party” from Europe in the 1930’s - Iconic mileposts of social change. Yet, in the work of Lori Larusso we find social and political statements about food production and distribution in the U.S. that are as slick, clean and polished as the height of the form, but placed in a whimsical context that makes the message more approachable; couching the provocative in a comfortable mid-Twentieth Century aesthetic.
“Our unhealthy obsession with healthy food often masks the origins of its production,” explains Larusso. “It also fails to consider who has the financial means and access to consume foods defined as healthy. For those in need of assistance, state bureaucracy determines the affordability and accessibility of staple foods. WIC programs, for example, allow for the purchase of sugary breakfast cereals, while at the same time, refuse to allow for the purchase of organic dairy products and high quality all natural foods. These newest paintings are reflections on the disconnect between the disturbing realities of commercial food production and our often naive assumptions about the pastoral lifestyle of animals raised for consumption. Here, the presentation of the food images, (cagey, but carefully prepared and staged) calls to mind the desire to provide healthful foods for ourselves and families while evoking the contrasting reality, both the abusive treatment of animals in CAFOs and those unable to participate in the health market.”
The pieces are illustrative and narrative, but Larusso states that, “the tangible quality of finished pieces is tied more directly to a contemporary painting practice.” Digital images of the work don’t clarify that these pieces are acrylic painted on shaped panels, so, as is always the case, a proper reading of the work requires viewing it in person. Larusso’s work can be seen at this moment in three exhibits:
March 3 - April 29 -The Chamber of Golden Light & Eating Animals at James May Gallery: Algoma, WI
February 12 - March 18 - Art and Tart at KMAC Shop; Louisville, KY
January 19 - April 30 - Contemplation Consumed: Artworks by Johanna Goodman, Natsuko Hattori and Lori Larusso, Porter Contemporary; New York, NY
Hometown: Massillon, Ohio
Education: MFA, Interdisciplinary Studies- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) BFA, Studio Art- University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning
Galley Representation: Skidmore Contemporary (Santa Monica, CA), Jordan Faye Contemporary (Baltimore, MD), Porter Contemporary (New York, NY)
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.