by Laura Kruger, Curator
Hebrew Union College Museum

Looking beyond the function and site specificity of iconic architecture, Janice Richmond Lourie, has gathered a visual collection of forms and building elements, sensitively rearranged them and created compelling visual images. Re-imagining a graceful, integrated cityscape, that mixes styles, eras, periods and signature architectural motifs into a private imaginary world, Lourie offers access to the wonders of architectural dreams. Nothing is overlooked in this well executed mélange. Towers powerfully surge skyward, crowded by striving, anonymous buildings, light shafts cut sharp angles, picking up details and randomly highlighting the unexpected moment.

Using fine art techniques combined with skillful digital computer manipulation, Lourie selects choice images and then maneuvers them into surprising juxtapositions. Her sense of color strongly flavors the imagery with sophisticated elegance. Her command of space contrasted with mass, focuses the viewer’s eye on hitherto overlooked architectural nuances. It is this balance of regularity and asymmetry that achieves these unique images. Almost vertiginous in their upward thrust, sky-scrapers, bridge girders and masses of cables form the muscle and sinews of Lourie's powerful cities. Her use of a grey, slightly metallic hue in Trump-Queens, is faintly ominous, brooding and unrelenting.

Lourie goes beyond the boundaries of the expected by developing ‘banners’ hanging from metal tubes. These banners use a completely abstract vocabulary derived, or translated from the core architectural imagery. Repeated curves, angles, spaces are contrasted and multiplied with strong force. The metallic coloration is used to reinforce the brute functionality of buildings. Another ‘banner’ has colorations that are much warmer, copper, soft wood tones, shades and gradations of beige. This piece captures the abstract cubist style with a sense of industrial purpose.

As an artist, Lourie maintains an attitude of detached appreciation for structures. Her radical delivery sets the urban landscape on edge. Elements from historic art movements such as the Bauhaus, Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism underlie the works, pulling the focus to the center with bold, forceful elements. The thought provoking kaleidoscope of color and pattern are pleasantly dissident as if the sound of jazz and syncopated music plays in the background.

 

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