Lucas Samaras Feeds His Photographs Through A Digital Kaleidoscope
When I was 10, my parents got me this mini-kaleidoscope necklace from the local art museum in my hometown of Portland, Maine. It was basically a painted metallic tube with a marble fastened at the end that you could twirl around with your finger. I was kind of a fidgety kid, but I could aim the necklace up at the clouds, or point it at a neon sign, and be fascinated for at least 10 minutes. It’s still in my jewelry box today. So naturally, both the 10-year-old me and the 20-something me are fascinated by the new series of rainbow-bright images by Greek artist Lucas Samaras.
The artist’s latest exhibition, “XYZ,” will inaugurate the newest location of the Pace Gallery, and features four new series of the artist’s neon confections. Samaras has been splicing up and re-imagining photographs since the 70s, originally making mosaics out of Polaroid images, but this new series has the artist interacting with digital media. Samaras used computer programs to amplify the colors of his photographs, creating what he calls “hyper-chromatic images.” He then warped the images to create geometric and kaleidoscopic effects.
One of the four new series exhibited in the show, “Flea,” features photographs of Manhattan flea markets, while “Chinoiserie” and “Cock and Bull,” explore more abstract patterns. The “Razor Cut” series features the first of the artist’s work to be created without photographic source material. These new images put Samaras fully in control of his artistic process, as most of his earlier work relied on photographic models or locations. And they are some of Samaras’ most frenetic, energizing pieces to date. Even Roy G. Biv would envy the colors he has generated here.
Images courtesy of Pace Gallery.