David Lloyd at Klowden Mann:
Time is taller than space is wide
By Lorraine Heitzman
Through March 4th
David Lloyd’s Time is taller than space is wide at Klowden Mann should be a welcome surprise to those familiar with his work and a happy discovery for anyone encountering his paintings for the first time. Having exhibited in Los Angeles extensively since he received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts in 1985, Lloyd has alternated over the years between abstractions and paintings with narrative elements and from conventional canvases to shaped panels. This new body of work, partly geometric, mostly painterly, and one hundred percent entertaining finds the artist in a very good place.
More refined and subtle in person than the image on the announcement suggests, the first impression of Lloyd’s work is the quirky and genial character of his paintings. Each work fully integrates an array of geometric forms and textures on irregularly shaped wood panels that float lightly off the gallery walls. Modestly sized with colors and shapes that evoke cartoons or circuses, these paintings are whimsical, but not silly. The jig-saw shapes are a combination of curves and jagged edges looking like oversized speech balloons from comic books that highlight the underlying humor running throughout the show.
Lloyd finds the right balance between illusion and object through trompe l’oeil effects like drop shadows and the use of cut plywood shapes. These devices create a tangible presence suggesting both depth and weight. Further accentuating their physicality, the works are mounted slightly away from the walls to cast shadows beneath the paintings. One painting (they are all Untitled) appears to devolve into drips in contrast to the crisp geometric forms and planes on its surface and another looks as if was pierced by a cylindrical shape. Colors fan out in sharp definition next to amorphous, molten blobs. Amid these compositions are delicate illusionary taut strings or faint shadows, enough to suggest a depth of field.
The paintings’ complexities owe much to surfaces that range from opaque and hard-edged to layered, dripped, scraped and scratched. Using acrylic and spray paint, encaustic and colored pencil, Lloyd effectively keeps us engaged in both his surfaces and illusions. Whereas his last show at Klowden Mann featured similar geometric motifs, these current paintings are more fully integrated and realized. Now the density of his images and saturated colors completely occupy the forms in a sort of closed system and this self-containment works in their favor.
David Lloyd’s current show is so engaging because his nonsensical paintings have their own logic. His world is mainly a joyous place to inhabit, a little quizzical but a place with a lively, benign sense of humor. And though there is an effortless quality about these paintings, they are not as simple as they first appear. That Lloyd is able to coax so much from his paintings reveals a well-honed skill and wit that rewards those who look closely.