Can the complexity of the human psyche be distilled down to a single image? According to artist, Anne Labovitz the answer is a very sincere “yes” … and “no.”
Recently named 2013 Artist of the Year by the Duluth Depot Foundation, her collection of portraits, “Layers,” will be featured in her new solo show opening Friday, January 10 and running through March 2 at the Burnet Gallery. Layers is composite, multi-tiered works that literally consist of layer upon layer of woodcuts and drawings to create a singular impression. The event is free and open to the public.
“My works are constructed over time with 100 or more layers of images, so they become quite dense,” said Labovitz. “Their physicality is a profoundly important aspect of the work. It speaks to the different aspects within each of us. As I add layers what is obliterated is equally important to what is revealed as I depict the private and public nature of people, our relationships to each other, as well as that individual captured in that one single solitary moment in time. In this way each portrait is ultimately more of a psychological study or compilation of the human condition rather than a depiction of any one person.”
To that point, Labovitz stresses that each portrait includes images of several different individuals male, female, young and old. As part of her creative process, she keeps a log of all the individuals she’s photographed and drawn, so in every portrait she actually knows each individual and their connection to one another.
“I take pictures constantly, sometimes hundreds a day,” said Labovitz. “I may use a camera, my iPhone or create pencil drawings. There is an intentional randomness to it and an interconnectivity that is part of the reality of our lives and part of the experience we all share.”
The works in “Layers” consist of woodcut impressions between layers of painting and drawings. Used as source material only, the images taken by Labovitz over the last year provide critical context. She develops the works on canvas by embedding fragments of woodblock prints, pastel, ink and drawn line in multiple layers of polymer emulsion creating fossilized impressions and ghosted images.
What lies beneath is often subdued, altered or possibly even intensified.
“My work is about adding and subtracting, concurrently exposing and obliterating both literally and figuratively,” said Labovitz. “I love this dichotomy. In this way, ‘Layers’ becomes a metaphor for both the process and the human condition.”
A native of Duluth, Labovitz currently lives and works in St. Paul, Minn. Her paintings are part of the permanent collections at the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, Calif. and the International Gallery of Portrait in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Labovitz’s passion for art education keeps her teaching within both public and private schools and offering workshops to artists of all ages around the Twin Cities. She is active in the Duluth art community and the metro area. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Walker Art Center and formerly on the Colleagues Advisory Board at the Weisman Art Museum.
Labovitz received her degree in art and art education from Hamline University, St. Paul. In addition, she has trained in studios in Italy, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Labovitz’s portraits and landscape pieces have been published in Studio Visit Magazine, Vol. 19, New American Paintings Midwest 2010, the Penang International Printmaking Exhibition 2010 and International Contemporary Artists, vol II and III. She has co-authored several books on portraiture with Australian artist, Carole Best, and provided illustrations for the children’s book, Honoral & Zarina. Additionally, her artwork was selected to be the cover art for two books and the program cover at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla, Calif. for their 2011-2012 music season. Her artwork has been written about in the Chicago Sun Times, the Duluth Tribune and the Taos Review amongst others.
About Burnet Gallery & Le Méridien Chambers
Burnet Gallery is located in Le Méridien Chambers, an award-winning art hotel located in downtown Minneapolis. Burnet Gallery is a commercial gallery showcasing works by a wide array of international, national and local contemporary artists.
Considered one of the top boutique art hotels in the world, Le Méridien Chambers features more than 200 pieces of original contemporary art throughout the public areas as well as the hotel’s 60 guest rooms. Located at 901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, Minn., it offers a unique combination of art, culinary, design and true boutique hotel experience. For reservations, call: 612-767-6900 or visit: www.LeMeridien.com/minneapolis.