Loehle's consistent and overriding concern as an artist is to address
the human condition. His intention "to make sense of experience,
to capture the bigness of being alive in the world, to somehow
tickle the back corners of the viewer's mind and spirit" is
the unbroken thread of his body of work. The visual languages of
his figurative paintings have evolved and shifted within his practice.
Medium, palette, mark making, perspective, surface, composition
- each exploited in eloquent expression. The whole of the sum an
ongoing attempt to "distill the world and get everything organized
in one place. ... to acknowledge both truth and beauty."
The new Rome series of paintings embrace with bold immediacy the
way the human experience is woven together across culture and time.
These paintings and drawings approach similar existential themes
as in the earlier Liminal paintings, this time asking how do we
choose to experience life in a complex world of allusion, custom,
and shared memory, thus reinventing the inward journey of Loehle's
paintings through richly layered symbols. The introduction of
oil stick, oil pastel and acrylic paint bring an urgency with
brilliant emotive color and an energetic and immediate mark making.
The gaze on the human condition turns to reflect on our own culpability
for the level of intimacy with life that we choose to experience.
Rome, the crux of Western Culture, informs Loehle's new paintings
as he excavates layer upon layer of human expression and incorporates
such symbols as fertility and death, the Belvedere Torso, the
phallic exit sign for the brothel outside the Coliseum, animals
from the Rome zoo, gypsies, and graffiti from bridges over the
Tiber River. The Rome paintings are a pulsing carnival ride through
the breadth of human experience, at once compressed into an intensity
that flattens infinity into an urgent moment, then sprung back
again into the void.
Alan Loehle received an M.F.A. in painting from the University
of Arizona in 1979. He lives and works in Atlanta and is a Professor
of Art at Oglethorpe University. In 2007 Loehle received a Guggenheim
Fellowship for Painting. He is also the recipient of two Pollock-Krasner
Grants for Painting, an NEA Fellowship for Painting, and an Elizabeth
Foundation Grant for Painting. Alan Loehle has exhibited in New
York and Atlanta since 1983, along with numerous museum exhibitions
including The Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC, The Arkansas
Arts Center, Little Rock, AK, The Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland,
FL, The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC, The Montgomery Museum
of Art, Montgomery, AL, The Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA,
and The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA-GA), Atlanta,
GA. He was featured in a print exhibition of drawings in The Paris
Review in 1999, and his work is in the collections of the Arkansas
Arts Center and the Reading Museum, Reading, PA, among others.
Loehle was featured in the 2004 Southeastern edition of New American
Solo exhibition at Marcia
Wood Gallery, January 8 - February 14, 2009. installation