Talking to Jason Lahr

Question: Tell me about “Plexi”

My primary interest is in narrative: the ways in which paintings can tell stories and the types of storytelling that are available to our contemporary moment. The narratives that I’m interested in creating involve the ways in which identity is formed by culture. In particular, I’m interested in how masculine identity (and specifically, working class male identity) arises from both mass- and sub- culture based sources. The images that I use are all appropriated and are executed in a variety of painting languages in an effort to create a web of references and allusions based in our culture. I write all of the texts and they’re designed to undermine the potential machismo of the work, given that the paintings collect a range of “boy images.” In the texts the female characters tend to be in positions of power, control, and authority, while the male characters are generally injured, inept, or mystified in their interactions with women.

In Plexi the macho histrionics of the Trans Am, line drawn devil “hails” or “horns” hand, and pattern lifted from Eddie Van Halen’s classic “Frankenstrat” guitar (additionally, the title Plexi refers to the 1960’s era Marshall amplifiers that formed Eddie Van Halen’s signature “brown sound.”) are offset by a quiet text in which the female protagonist treks her way into the rust belt wilderness of a strip-mine as unseen machinery thrums in the distance. The moment captured here is liminal. She crosses the border of the strip-mine and faces uncertain footing as she makes her way into its shale laden topography, which is echoed in the grey pixilated digital field beneath the text. Ultimately the painting brings a moment of calm perseverance together with a collection of male adolescent obsessions and nerdy minutiae.

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3 thoughts on “Talking to Jason Lahr

  1. […] asked by Art Czar (thanks Hector!) to talk about my painting Plexi.  You can read about it here. Filed under: […]

  2. E Verdeja says:

    Excellent work.

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