Caitlin Lonegan’s abstract and gestural works weave together observations of light, movement, space, and time in an exciting way. Her new series of works called Rainbow Paintings, a selection of which is being presented for the first time in the gallery’s LOGIN space, is also based on the striking interaction between these specific aspects. Her exhibition titled 4 pm,Fire Light is the second solo show of the American artist in our gallery and features powerful paintings and drawings that create the illusion of a consistent, atmospheric space in which our perception of light and its reflections are constantly shifting.
The strength of Lonegan’s pictures lies in their eloquent, seemingly random arrangement of color surfaces and forms placed next to each other. In this expression of painterly gestures, each position has in fact been meticulously planned, placed, and tested in drawings that go beyond simple sketches and are rather works in their own right. These works on paper are created simultaneously with her paintings and often focus on single moments – real or imagined – thereby helping her to articulate spatial illusions that can reflect several paintings at the same time, letting painting and drawing interact in a dynamic way. The artist employs the entire spectrum of colors to structure the pictorial space – from warm, earthy tones to delicate blue and pink hues, with only a few very vivid tones – while metallic pigments create a surprising effect and comprise an integral part of the composition, just like the untreated areas on the surface of the support.
The Rainbow Paintings are perfect examples of how masterfully Lonegan lets the individual color surfaces engage in a lively conversation with the light situation in the room. Recurring forms like semicircles, crescents, and spheres reflect, refract, or absorb the light, depending on the angle from which we behold the paintings or the special qualities of the light in a particular room. Sometimes these forms seem like singular elements; other times, we get the impression that they fall apart in the light. Our perspective, our movements, and our position in the room all transform the perception of Lonegan’s paintings into an intense experience.
In her paintings and drawings, Lonegan refers to a specific space. Dim and bright at the same time, it is filled with an atmospheric yet diffuse light that originates from the sides and is inspired by the light situation in her studio. Lighting also played a decisive role in her choice of the exhibition title. She began the painting the work shown in the LOGIN in the cold season and finished it in the heat of summer, during the so-called fire season in California, when the sky is lit red for several days. 4 pm, Fire Light is thus born out of Lonegan’s sense that the painting reflects the time of day, the changing conditions of the seasons, and the distinct experience of the late summer and early fall of 2020.