Karen Lofgren

La plaza desplazada (Broken Column, Social Space), 2018-2020
Pulling Through (a softer index) #9, #11, #13, 2018 - 2019 (Four sculptures in driveway)

Artist Statement
Pulling Through Series: Works are part of an ongoing multi-year project, Curse and the Cure, and index space related to the scale and measures of the human body in relation to natural (plant and animal) forms and emotional space, as well as ancient medical objects. The pieces, some sand-cast in aluminum and others hand built in mixed mediums, are nearly geometric although gloopy, flawed, and fleshy—rounding off the square forms with unmistakably organic attributes. The measurements of the projecting segments of each piece relate to scale of human bodies, limbs and orifices, and of plants, and to the ancient rituals of “passing through” or “pulling through”, where the patient is physically pulled through another object to create a magical barrier between them and their ailment, and “measuring and plugging”, in which objects are measured to the scale of the body, then filled (with nails, hair, and other objects) to transfer the disease to the object. Physically appearing as geometric “trees”, some of the objects point to taxonomy, or the rules applied to categorize wild systems (including physiology, nature, language, emotion), which occupy other dimensions. Instead of attempting to directly categorize, the works try to permit wild systems to remain so in a state of multiplicity or shifting identity and fluctuating rules, intuitively feeling out spaces that outline historic ritual movements.

Background: I was influenced by my childhood within a utopian back-to-the land island community, and at a Tibetan dharma center. Raised by an alternative medicine practitioner and in experimental social structures, I was born into countercultural participation. Fundamentally centered on belief structures and systems, my practice mediates space by linking the history of ritual and belief throughout various cultures and time periods, and placing this material in relationship through the approach of “radical subjectivity” in the studio.

Karen Lofgren is a Los Angeles-based artist working primarily in sculpture and artist books from a feminist and decolonial perspective, and holds an MFA from CalArts. Her research centers on ritual, history, mythology, and the construction of consciousness over time, forming relationships between cultural systems and other wild systems. She is a 2019 Pollock-Krasner grant recipient; receives Canada Council Grant support; and was Fulbright Core Scholar at UAL, Central St. Martins College in 2017/2018. Solo exhibitions include What is To Cure at Royale Projects Contemporary Art; Trajectory Object c. 2000-2050 with High Desert Test Sites, as well as solo shows at LACE; Pitzer Art Galleries; and Machine Project. Group exhibitions include PRISKA PASQUER; Palm Springs Art Museum; Commonwealth & Council; MASS Gallery; LACMA; Human Resources; Bank of America; Royal College of Art; Nicodim Gallery; and OCAD University. Her projects have also received support from Mike Kelley Foundation; Durfee Foundation; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Ranch Projects; and West of Rome Public Art.