Through intimate and carefully constructed figurative paintings artist Laura Krifka dissects the mechanisms of power, identity, and observation found in visual culture. With non-descript references to the history of painting, Krifka incorporates the contemporary frameworks of film and photography into her understanding of portraiture and psychology. By collapsing several views of the same pose, subject, space, and time into each painting Krifka creates scenes that appear deceptively simple, but are rife with distortions, puzzles, and physical impossibilities that make visual factuality tenuous and challenge a viewer’s perceptual abilities.
Krifka directs each complex narrative as paintings unravel and reform slowly over months and even years. Protagonists inhabit claustrophobic, domestic spaces, sometimes gazing assertively out of their canvases, other times disappearing into the wallpaper, but always vulnerable. Krifka’s figures occupy various states of undress, preparation, or play, expressing an ease with intimacy and an acknowledgement that the act of looking is a central component of desire. The pleasure of observation is echoed in Krifka’s own words: “…our pleasures and perversions have been molded by the fictions that permeate our ubiquitous visual culture. That our most secret desires are partially formed by our codified, collective experiences is a source of endless fascination for me.”
Laura Krifka was born 1985 in Los Angeles, CA. She lives and works in San Luis Obispo, CA. Krifka received her MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2010 and her BFA from California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo in 2008, following earlier studies at Newbold College in England and Avondale College in Australia. Krifka has exhibited her work at venues throughout Southern California including Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, the Torrance Museum of Art, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, LA Louver, CB1 Gallery, and Beacon Arts in Inglewood, as well as at Zroboli Gallery in Chicago, BravinLee Programs in New York, and Vast Space Projects in Las Vegas. Krifka’s work has been featured in various publications including Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Santa Barbara News-Press, New American Paintings, and Artillery Magazine and her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, and the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In conjunction with the final week of the Unreachable Spring, the gallery will host an artist talk on Zoom, December 19th, 1:00 PM PST / 4:00 PM EST moderated by Luis De Jesus and Lindsay Preston Zappas. This conversation will serve as a summation of the exhibition and provide insight and dialogue towards the socio-political atmophere in which these works were created. From isolation and death, to social activism, to personal responses to systemic oppression, we speak with our artists about making art during a year unlike any other.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Laura Krifka's painting Copy Cat (2017) and Peter Williams's painting Head Trip by Black Folks to Another Planet (2019) were acquired by the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. The McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (MFA) presents exhibitions and events that engage, expand, and challenge themes in the McEvoy Family Collection. Established in 2017, MFA’s vision is to create an open, intimate, and welcoming setting for private contemplation and community discussion about art and culture.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Laura Krifka's painting Tipping Point (2019) was acquired by the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. Originally founded as an independent nonprofit by the Pizzuti family to share exhibitions of contemporary art from their private collection, the organization and its beautifully renovated building were recently acquired by the Columbus Museum of Art.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Laura Krifka's painting Piggyback (2019) was acquired by the Collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody for The Bunker Artspace in West Palm Beach, FL. The painting was featured in the artist's first solo exhibition with the Gallery, The Game of Patience on view from September 7 - October 26, 2019. Presenting rotating exhibitions and viewable storage of the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, The Bunker Artspace opened in December 2017 and showcases a wide range of contemporary art by both well-known and emerging artists, displayed alongside iconic pieces of furniture and other curiosities.
Many of the artworks — including pieces by Zackary Drucker (self portait, above center), Josh Reames and Laura Krifka — were found at L.A.’s Luis De Jesus Gallery. “It’s really important to support working artists,” says Clayton.
The show also features work by June Edmonds, André Hemer, Kambui Olujimi, and Edra Soto. This Saturday, December 19, all six participating artists will be talking about “making art during a year unlike any other”in a Zoom conversation moderated by Luis De Jesus and Lindsay Preston Zappas, editor-in-chief of CARLA. While we sorely miss in-person events, remote talks like this one make it easier for all artists to participate, so don’t miss this rare occasion.
Unreachable Spring takes its title from the eponymous painting by Laura Krifka. The painting was slated to be featured as the sole work in her first Viewing Room on the gallery website, accompanied by an essay by the writer and art critic Andrew Berardini. Laura began the painting in late March—within days of the start of the Covid lockdown in the U.S., and shortly after learning that she and her husband were expecting their first child. By summer it had become clear to us that it was the lede for a deeper exploration of ideas and subject matter.
At Luis De Jesus in Culver City, a group show gathers a loose array of artworks that were made in response to recent events. With so many crises affecting our country, the work diverges in focus, addressing a range of issues: pandemic’s loneliness, the toppling of monuments, and the lives lost to police brutality. Unusually, the gallery has included artist statements next to each artwork, allowing the viewer into the thinking behind each work, and providing a connective personal tone across the exhibition
While group shows can sometimes lack a coherent vision, this one seems worth a trip. All of the works were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from bitingly political paintings to beautiful reflections on home. The featured artists are June Edmonds, André Hemer, Laura Krifka, Kambui Olujimi, Edra Soto, and Peter Williams.
Unreachable Spring is a group exhibition featuring artists prompted by a desire to take refuge in their work and address this transformational moment in a personal way.
Laura Krifka's The Game of Patience at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is at its core about seduction, built through scenarios of being seduced, and how the artist constructs each painting to both seduce, and, by revealing subtle (metaphorical) cracks in the foundation. The interview covers topics such as: playing with repulsion; the frank reactions Krifka’s received from more non-Art World audiences about being a ‘weird lady’ for the things she paints; her process of working with models, and more...
Laura Krifka enjoys doing things she is not supposed to do. Having absorbed the tenets of neoclassical painting, she bypasses high-minded seriousness by adding a candy-coated veneer of hyper-artificiality adopted from 1950s MGM musicals to the domestic decor of private scenes she then undercuts with a deviant sexual subtext recalling David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. This irresistible mix of dexterity, decor, decorum and deviance makes viewing her paintings a guilty pleasure — rather like sneaking into a peep show or secretly spying on neighbor’s forbidden acts.
Laura Krifka is a superlative, if shifty, storyteller — a cross between a delectably unreliable narrator and a canny ventriloquist. Her intriguing recent oils on canvas and panel at the Los Angeles gallery Luis De Jesus Los Angeles are painted with brushless exactitude, their crisp and controlled surfaces belying personal and interpersonal complexities beneath. Krifka tells it super-straight, but the “it” is slant.
At Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in Culver City, Laura Krifka’s hyper-realistic figurative paintings build to create an uncanny mood. In each work, figures are placed within an interior domestic space, and subtle sexual cues build as you view the works. The breast of a sleepy figure mimics the egg-patterned wallpaper behind her; lemons in various stages of juicing are laid on a table next to a bare buttox. These more overt sexual themes are soon overtaken by more subtle ominous ones—strange shadows fall over the furniture in each painting, as if someone or something is looming just outside of the picture.
Laura Krifka takes on the classical stance of European academic painting in her first solo show with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, smashing ivory tower patrician preciousness with a cheeky wit, advanced technique, and lush elements of both social realism and rococo modernism. The new work represents an evolution from her Flemish Renaissance style toward more modern visual cues and a crisper hand that is less folk-inflected and while not quite surreal, are certainly uncanny.
Laura Krifka’s forceful painting, entitled Grab Bag, 2016, oil on canvas, 40” x 30,” is a wonderfully perplexing image of a nude woman covering her genitals with her hands, in a harsh flash bulb kind of light. Her vintage hairstyle and the sleazy curtain behind her, plus the strange color sensibility (it almost appears like a colorized black and white film still) make it seem like a still photo from the 1930’s to 40’s. It’s almost like she is on display in a Hollywood casting couch kind of way.
Beautifully curated, Three Years: The Davyd Whaley Foundation, exhibited at Castelli Art Space in June, offered a look at the works of seven artists supported by the foundation over the past three years. The collection of diverse, exciting art included a wide range of lustrous works; a mix of sculpture, paintings, and photography.
Adventurous and thought-provoking but remarkably free of big artistic statements and the attendant egos, an exhibition at the artist-run project space Serious Topics in Los Angeles might be the antidote to the international biennial surveys opening next month. The artists who organised the show, Kristin Calabrese, Joshua Aster and Torie Zalben, call it Dreamhouse vs Punk House (Plus Cat House). Very few of the nearly 200 miniature paintings and sculptures included measure more than 5 by 5 inches and most are significantly smaller—beautifully installed in three hand-built, high-rise dollhouses, each with its own character.
For “Dreamhouse Vs. Punk House (plus Cat House),” nearly 200 artists made works averaging 4 x 4 inches to be shown in three thematic multi-story dollhouses. It may sound like just so much whimsy, but this delirious exhibition/installation hybrid is an impressive and imperative total work of art. Organizers Kristin Calabrese, Joshua Aster and Torie Zalben achieve a delightful presentation whose ebullience belies the months of planning and weeks of construction that went into it. After all, six-story dollhouses in which each floor’s apartments are conceived, decorated, lighting-designed, transformed into micro-installations and/or curated like proper individual salons don’t just happen by themselves.
Fast forward 40 years later, and I learn of the second of Durden & Ray’s “Book Club” group shows curated by Steven Wolkoff – the premise being to take a book regarded (then or now) as particularly ground-breaking (which in fact Adler’s book was at the time it was published), and offer a group of artists opportunities to have at and flesh out various aspects of the book – themes, motives, incidents, characterizations, or other dimensions – and/or their contemporary relevance/resonance or broader cultural implications.
I was blown away. Krifka is interested in the seduction and terror of American mythology and its relationship to the sublime. Combining a deep knowledge of art history with technical chops that can only be called post-academic, Krifka conjures one powerful image after another. These are not easy paintings; in fact, they are truly weird in the best surrealist sense of the work. Yet they gnaw at you in the way that the best art does. Given the current political climate, Krifka’s exploration of American condition will take on even more resonance.
Laura Krifka makes paintings, sculptures and videos that dissect common fantasies of power and identity. Her work is both gorgeous and terrifying often dealing with fantasies of beauty and nobility, myth, power, identity seduction and the American dream, exploring the relationship of light and dark through a range of influences from art history to fairyland with a post-modernist twist.
Laura Krifka’s work feels both classical and contemporary—a collection of myths that transcend time, stuck on the spin cycle from one era to the next. There is a soft religious quality in each face as he or she slowly responds to pending doom, lurking out of view. Such off -stage suspense feels exactly this way—theatrical.
In contrast, there’s nothing self-satisfied in the figurative paintings by Sarah Awad and Laura Krifka, both of which treat the human body as a universe that is at once intimate and alien — as comforting as a lover and as disquieting as dread.
Krifka creates post-modern fairytales for the cynical dreamer. Her feminized landscapes, fetishized religious iconography, and historical surrealism challenge the assumptions that enable their subject matter. And yet, with her lush aesthetic touch, she also indulges in them. The exhibition shows us that fantasies are not just for silly little girls.