Party Time

Despite the fact that the internet is often described as anarchic and abyss-like, many of the contemporary artists responding to it in their work have recently espoused a discourse of self-help and positivism. In Lou Laurita's current show at New York's Guild & Greyshkul gallery, 'There's a Party Going On,' the artist draws from excerpts of online profiles, affirmations, and pop songs. Using 'traditional' media to engage digital culture, Laurita's large scale gouache paintings employs the visual and verbal dialect of that region known as the internet. His montage of found jpegs and snipped texts, in which the image's shape is defined by the letters in the selected phrases, is dialectical in effect. Something greater than the sum of these parts emerges as we take in an image that causes us to think about the code by which the paintings were constructed and its relationship to the construction of identities and sites on the web. In the case of each of these assemblages, there is an intensive self-reflexivity to the manufacturing process, which is nicely mirrored in Laurita's works, which are so meticulously rendered as to scream 'representation.' The artist's hand in repurposing these fabrications calls attention to the dynamics of his role as spectator (and, in turn, ours, as viewers of his work) in the consumption of private lives offered-up for public display. - Marisa Olson