C24 Gallery is pleased to announce Ends and Means, the first solo exhibition by gallery artist Charles Lutz. Ends and Means will be on view from January 17th through March 1st, 2013, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 17th from 6 – 8pm.
Ends and Means brings together a group of related paintings and sculptures that exemplify Lutz’s investigation into the value structures of American identity. Each group of works is derived from a relationship to the American experience - its abstraction of value and transience - both monetarily and morally.
The first group of paintings are constructed from stretched canvas and linen bags once used for transporting currency; they are reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg's Combine paintings from the early 1970's. Their varied and tactile nature, which points to their origin of service, is now frozen. Another group of paintings are based on transcripts of bank robbery notes; copied by the artist, they mimic a gradual descent into the erratic nature of the original writer. Another group of paintings are taken from news wire images, manipulated and rendered in oil on canvas. These images reference internal conflict, financial peril, and the abstraction of monetization, which could be tapped from the current American psyche.
Lutz also translates these themes into three-dimensions, with a series of sculptures of ski masks worn in armed robberies. These works stand solemnly in polished stainless steel – as empty vessels, allowing the viewer to insert themselves into a historical or participatory role with the objects.
The works in Ends and Means allow the artist to continually mine our collective history, revealing a cold yet intimately personal reflection of the American consciousness. Through a dialogue with the readymade, Lutz explores and exploits both its aesthetic and emotional transcendence from low to high, creating a unique signature that at times replicates and references others directly, yet remains totally and unequivocally his own.