House Gallery is pleased to present Unforgotten Realms, an exhibition of new work by Salt Lake City based artist Allan Ludwig. Ludwig’s paintings toy with the constraints of medium and meaning, manipulating paint so that it resembles magic marker and treating marks as if they are a form of magic. Unforgotten Realms brings draftsmanship, science fiction, free-form geometry, and organic gestures together, navigating the constraints of time while imagining timelessness.
Ludwig, whose mark-making has a loose precision to it, straddles seriousness and whimsy so inconspicuously that it becomes difficult to tell the two apart. His lines and shapes, painting onto a meticulously gessoed and absorbent surface, tend to resemble the informed clarity of scientific renderings. Yet, in Ludwig’s work, technicality merges with distinct playfulness. Seemingly random, childlike gestures—including swirls, hatch-marks, and other doodles—interrupt the clear-cut outlines of shapes, occasionally making Ludwig’s drawings seem like uncannily proficient experiments from a childhood coloring session.
In “Leveling up and expanding the vision,” a red-framed window into white is filled with windswept multi-colored marks and interrupts a churning gray expanse. In “Window scroll of finding,” black, systematically horizontal lines are invaded by smudges, blurs and scribbles.
This slippage between the serious and whimsical is only increased by the representational imagery that occasionally interrupts Ludwig’s otherwise abstract picture planes. Falcons, moon rocks, aliens, UFO-like forms, occasionally descend upon drawing surfaces. These forms allude to a fantastic world that purportedly exists beyond constraints of the rectangular frame.
“We all participate in alternative realities,” Ludwig writes in a free-verse poem that doubles as an artist statement. That may be the best way to describe Ludwig’s project: it’s about presented a menagerie of alternate realities, unpretentious ones that marry life’s graver systems and limitations with an , ingenuous sense of play.
Ludwig, who holds a B.F.A. from Brigham Young University and an M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University, has exhibited nationally and recently received the Juror’s Award at the Utah Ties exhibition. Unforgotten Realms opens on December 1, 2010, with a reception on December 3rd from 6-9 PM. The exhibition continues through December 23.