Mernet Larsen Text by John Yau
Mernet Larsen is the first monograph published on an American painter who has recently been rediscovered by the art world as a significant voice in the “extensive, possibly global conversation about how to portray modern, three-dimensional life on two-dimensional surfaces” (Roberta Smith, The New York Times). Larsen’s paintings are a complete world and, in that regard, belong to the tradition that includes Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte. These worlds “reach toward” ours, even as they pull us in. Larsen’s paintings are abstracted figurations with Japanese-inspired perspective; tracing-paper cutouts are used all across the canvas, giving her works a constructed appeal. Their subjects include classrooms, coffee shops, vacation spots and malls--gathering places--as well as parodies of religious events such as the Resurrection. This monograph gives a full analysis of Larsen’s work of the past 30 years, with a focus on her oeuvre since 2000.