GAVLAK Los Angeles proudly presents Unraveling, a solo exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist and educator Lisa Anne Auerbach. For her third solo exhibition at the gallery, Auerbach will present a series of large unraveling wool text-based tapestries alongside knit figurative works. These two new bodies of work draw from pop-cultural and political memetic imagery and their points of intersection. The exhibition will be on view from March 19 to April 23, 2022, with an opening reception on March 19 from 5-7 PM.
Over the past two decades, Auerbach has been continuously expanding upon and refining her knitted tapestries and garments – the pieces with which have come to typify her artistic output. Until now, these textile artworks have primarily functioned as vehicles for political language, including slogans and original writing: such as a recent work which included an excerpted piece of allegorical writing by Auerbach on the theft of the color “red” (referencing Trump hats, and the republican imaginary). While utilizing similar references and approaches, Auerbach’s latest work represents a shift in her own relationship with her frequent knit format: from a utilization of knitting for its cultural associations, to an investigation into the possibilities of the medium.
In Unraveling, the included artworks address the materiality of her knitwork for the first time. Auerbach has introduced interventions into her textiles’ structures via a controlled unraveling of the inter-looping yarn with which the pieces are made. Visually, this process results in interruptions of the text across the faces of the works, through breaks in letterforms, and in some instances, the total collapse of areas of once-text into strands of colored yarn. This mode of intervention is performed to startling effect in works such as “Unprecedented,” which features the titular word knit in white on black, literally disintegrating over the artwork’s ten-foot span.
Alongside these unraveling knits, Auerbach debuts a series of new figurative works. These pieces, also knit, prominently feature a cartoonish self-portrait in the style of the “soyjak” character meme — an image which has been replicated ad-nauseum in online message boards—alongside a menagerie of other similarly executed caricatures, like the depressed “Doomer.” These knit portraits are presented on stretched canvas and, similarly to the slogan works, feature slippages in their knitted structures. Threads of yarn are hand embroidered onto the surfaces of the work and droop limply, acting as beads of sweat on the faces of the caricatures; tears strewn from their eyes; and also, very literally, an unraveling of the surfaces that support the political (im)possibilities presented on their surfaces.
Lisa Anne Auerbach was born in 1967 in Ann Arbor, MI, and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Auerbach received a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and a MFA from Art Center College of Design. She currently is a tenured professor of art at Pomona College. She has had solo exhibitions at Usdan Gallery at Bennington College, Aspen Art Museum, Malmo Konsthall, and University of Michigan Museum of Art, and her work has been included in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, FLAG Art Foundation, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, and in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan; Saatchi Collection, London, United Kingdom; the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Printed Matter, New York, NY, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI.