Evan Lintermansby Hrag Vartanian
Evan Lintermans’s New Paintings show at *sixtyseven is a winterfresh whiff of arctic air consisting of three acrylic paintings on Plexiglas produced after an Alaskan trip. The subject perfectly suits Lintermans’s technique and offers him the chance to show off his surfaces as his forms oscillate in shimmering waves.
It is commendable that *sixtyseven owners, Claire Lemetais and Ron Segev, have given the L.A.-born and now Brooklyn-based painter a second solo show in a year. Both exhibitions prove that Lintermans’s work definitely warrants the attention he is getting, and his work fits in nicely with *sixtyseven’s stable that tends to bright pop-ish distortions. Lintermans’s work taps into that difficult juncture between a graphic sensibility that has gone beyond consumerism and collides with nostalgia and dehumanized beauty.
In Lintermans’s first show, Generica, his subjects were the soul-less commercial mammoths of L.A.’s suburban sprawl. In this second show, he sets his sites on something infinitely more sublime, but suggests it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from McArchitecture to Mount McKinley—his careful technique connects all the dots.
While only three works are on display, they demonstrate two separate veins of his art that were less apparent in his first show.
The largest piece, "M" (2003), measures ten feet by over twelve feet and consumes an entire wall in the small gallery. The mural is subdivided into four panels that either (I can’t decide) mock the modernist grid or are blow-ups of the traditional landscape format. While parts resemble the bulky digital dreamscape of 1980s video games, there is a highly spiritual aspect that combines Murakami with Cézanne’s "Mont Sainte-Victoire." Not to suggest that the work is a visual koan on the cosmic, but it definitely goes beyond the surface of the peak. Lintermans doesn’t excavate meaning in his subject matter but reflects or refracts it—this tendency initially emerged in Generica.
In contrast, the smaller "Mountain 1" (2003) and "Mountain 2" (2003) panels are more European in sensibility than the manga starkness of "M." They have the poetry of Whistler, but the dynamism of Boccioni. They are frothy cocktails composed of futurist shards whipped up in a blender. These two paintings are stunning. Gone is the studied drawing of the large work. The subject matter ripples, contorts, and spiders with the seeming chaos of a screensaver. From Lintermans’s last show, it’s obvious his technique is more meticulous. He consolidated his hard edges into crisp slivers in the smaller paintings and the sweeping compositional simplicity of Space Invaders in the larger one.
When I spoke to the artist at the opening, I made an East Coast mistake and innocently asked if he hiked into the mountains to photograph the scenes. "No, I took a plane," he explained. Like a true Angeleno, the perspective of walking is anathema to these works. For all the superficial beauty, the human element is entirely absent. Nowhere is the viewer reflected: there are only barren landscapes and monuments. As the eighteenth-century French writer Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort suggested, "It must be admitted that there are some parts of the soul which we must entirely paralyze before we can live happily in this world."
Hrag Vartanian is a writer, critic, and designer. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.