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Mernet Larsen at Boston University

  • Boston University, Jacob Sleeper Auditorium 871 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA (map)

Since the late 1970s, Mernet Larsen has engaged with the history and idioms of geometric abstraction. In the early 2000s her work took a crucial turn, developing a unique marriage of abstraction and figuration that has been described as geometric figure painting. Stiff, blocky figures occupy synthetic yet skillfully rendered worlds, in which the mundane is made strange through dramatically articulated or reversed perspective. Larsen’s paintings reflect an obsession with the iconographies of power and ritual. She turns her attention towards the seemingly mundane spaces where these dramas play out in the contemporary world—bedrooms, restaurants, subway cars, and most recently, corporate board rooms. A dry humor and a surprising empathy occupy these spaces and figures.

Larsen has been the subject of over thirty solo exhibitions, including Getting Measured: Mernet Larsen, 1957-2017, a comprehensive survey of her work at the Tampa Museum of Art in 2017. Her work is in numerous collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN among others. Larsen received her BFA from the University of Florida, and her MFA from Indiana University. Larsen is Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is represented by James Cohan Gallery, NY and Various Small Fires, LA.

Part of the Contemporary Perspectives Lecture Series at Boston University School of Visual Arts.