The Representational Abstractions of Louise P. Sloane

Louise P. Sloane began her career as a non –representational artist and, indeed, the first impression of her paintings is that of rich, comber colors, dense, distressed surfaces and moderate to small rectangular shapes of either wood or fiberglass panel or canvas. Now, however, Sloane admits that she anchors her abstractions in a narrative as a way for her – and the viewer- to begin, as means of construction or a psychological scaffold. Nonetheless, the works must still be assessed retinally as material and process; it does not necessarily depend upon the story which the viewer may or may not know, may or may not be interested in decoding.. Whatever the imagery means to the viewer is acceptable to the artist as parallel to her own specific references, a point of view that she believes expands the domain of the works and makes it permeable, allowing the viewer to interject his or her own experiences. Sloane controls the forma but is liberal about the content; at best, the interaction results in a collaboration between artist and audience that constantly refreshes the work. “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, for instance, comes in three versions, white, red and grey with different imagery that refers to, respectively, the inscriptions of what was conjectured to be Jesus’s brother’s tomb, the arc and disintegrations of the Columbia space shuttle and Saddam Hussein’s compound, where the weapons of mass destruction were thought to be hidden. It can be read as pure abstraction, a series of marks, geometric shapes, patterns, colors, but it can also be read for the artist’s intent. “JR is a Woman”, a deep gun-metal grey field enclosing a centered, bisected rectangle of even darker grey with a sketchy, barely visible figure on one side, is based on a newspaper image of Janet Reno peering around a door while the moody “Collective Sorrow” is revealed to be Sloane’s “September 11th painting – “every artist has a September 11th work,” she says. Consisting of a pepper and salt colored grid, its small, nubby squares are created by painting numbers over each other, again and again, until all of the almost 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center had been registered; in the center is a circle within a square, as if sighted in the cross hairs of a weapon, literally ground zero.

The approximately 18 paintings in this exhibition were made between 1999 – 2003. The handsome “Harmony In The House of Fire and Water” is the most recent and largest, a 4-panel polyptych measuring 52 x 52 inches, dimensions which are part of its secret subject in four different, saturated reds that are extremely close in hue and value. Often Sloane’s compositions are centralized, with a circle in the center that might resemble a target or a rectangle that recalls a book or a torah, the surfaces blistered or buttered, opaque or glowing, woven like textiles, cut, incises or laced together, as if sewn. Sloane expertly. Gleefully employs kitchen implements when needed such as pastry tubes to draw lines and filigree her fields. Often, the overall appearance can be architectural, but softened by seemingly Baroque or Islamic flourishes. Sloane generously layers her colors, sometimes applying as many as forty coats and her palette ranges from oxblood reds, maroons, carnelians, burnt oranges, sour yellows, midnight blues, royal purples, blacks, greys and chalky, bone whites. Sloane builds up her work with molding paste and uses pure pigments, tube colors and house paints. The layers can be cut and peeled away as if they were added on, like collage. She sometimes still uses beeswax for the seductiveness of its luster and luxuriousness of its surface but, of late, finds it almost too alluring.

Sloane’s artis that of the hand for the eye an, though not incidentially, the story is still an added value, intertwined with the materiality of her paintings, another interpretation of the current reconciliation between abstraction and representation, between modernism’s pure object and postmodernist narrative.


Lilly Wei 2004

The Representational Abstractions of Louise P. Sloane

The Representational  Abstractions of Louise P. Sloane




Louise P. Sloane began her career as a non –representational artist and, indeed, the first impression of her paintings is that of rich, comber colors, dense, distressed surfaces and moderate to small rectangular shapes of either wood or fiberglass panel or canvas.  Now, however, Sloane admits that she anchors her abstractions in a narrative as a way for her – and the viewer- to begin, as means of construction or a psychological scaffold.  Nonetheless, the works must still be assessed retinally as material and process;  it does not necessarily depend upon the story which the viewer may or may not know, may or may not be interested in decoding.. Whatever the imagery means to the viewer is acceptable to the artist as parallel to her own specific references, a point of view that she believes expands the domain of the works and makes it permeable, allowing the viewer to interject his or her own experiences.   Sloane controls the forma but is liberal about the content; at best, the interaction results in a collaboration between artist and audience that constantly refreshes the work.  “O Brother Where Art Thou?”, for instance, comes in three versions, white, red and grey with different imagery that refers to, respectively, the inscriptions of what was conjectured to be Jesus’s brother’s tomb, the arc and disintegrations of the Columbia space shuttle and Saddam Hussein’s compound, where the weapons of mass destruction were thought to be hidden.   It can be read as pure abstraction, a series of marks, geometric shapes, patterns, colors, but it can also be read for the artist’s intent.    “JR is a Woman”, a deep gun-metal grey field enclosing a centered, bisected rectangle of even darker grey with a sketchy, barely visible figure on one side, is based on a newspaper image of Janet Reno peering around a door while the moody “Collective Sorrow” is  revealed to be Sloane’s “September 11th painting – “every artist has a September 11th work,” she says.  Consisting of a pepper and salt colored grid, its small, nubby squares are created by painting numbers over each other, again and again, until all of the almost 3,000 victims of the World Trade Center had been registered; in the center is a circle within a square, as if sighted in the cross hairs of a weapon, literally ground zero.




The approximately 18 paintings in this exhibition were made between 1999 – 2003.   The handsome “Harmony In The House of Fire and Water” is the most recent and largest, a 4-panel polyptych measuring  52 x 52 inches, dimensions which are part of its secret subject in four different, saturated reds that are extremely close in hue and value.  Often Sloane’s compositions are centralized, with a circle in the center that might resemble a target or a rectangle that recalls a book or a torah, the surfaces blistered or buttered, opaque or glowing, woven like textiles, cut, incises or laced together, as if sewn.  Sloane expertly. Gleefully employs kitchen implements when needed such as pastry tubes to draw lines and filigree her fields.  Often, the overall appearance can be architectural, but softened by seemingly Baroque or Islamic flourishes.  Sloane generously layers her colors, sometimes applying as many as forty coats and her palette ranges from oxblood reds, maroons, carnelians, burnt oranges, sour yellows, midnight blues, royal purples, blacks, greys and chalky, bone whites.  Sloane builds up her work with molding paste and uses pure pigments, tube colors and house paints.  The layers can be cut and peeled away as if they were added on, like collage.  She sometimes still uses beeswax for the seductiveness of its luster and luxuriousness of its surface but, of late, finds it almost too alluring.




Sloane’s artis that of the hand for the eye an, though not incidentially, the story is still an added value, intertwined with the materiality of her paintings, another interpretation of the current reconciliation between abstraction and representation, between modernism’s pure object and postmodernist narrative.






Lilly Wei  2004



Collective Sorrow
2002
Acrylic Pastes, Paints and Pigment Powders
30 x 24 x 1 inches
911 Tribute Painting. A marking for each of the people who perished, the numbers on top of one another. Colors of paint representing skin tones of all peoples. Center is ground zero. All is covered in a layer of white ash.
Patrician Blue
1999
Acrylic Pastes, Paint and Pigment Powders
32 x 32 x .50 inches
Geometric Abstraction
Symbols Before My Eyes
1996
Acrylic Paints and Pastes on Canvas
36 x 36 x 1 inches
Densely textured lushly colored abstract painting
Oh Brother Where Art Thou?III
2003
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Canvas
42" x 48"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Oh Brother Where Art Thou?II
2003
Acrylic Polymers and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
32" x 32" x 1/2"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Hunter and Hunted
1994
Acrylic Paints and Pastes on Canvas
42 x 42 x 1 inches
Densely textured abstraction
Speaking In Tongues
1993
Acrylic Paints and Pastes on Canvas
36 x 36 inches
Densely textured, text based geometric abstraction
Oh Brother Where Art Thou?1
2002
Acrylic Polymers and Paint on Wood
20" x 20" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Untitled Purple (SOLD)
2002
Acrylic Polymers and Paint on Wood Panel
20" x 20" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
(private collection)
PPP
2002
Acrylic Polymers and Paint on Wood Panel
24" x 24" x 1"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
HEARNOSPEAKNO
1993
Acrylic Paints and Pastes on Canvas
36 x 36 inches
Densely textured, text based geometric abstraction
Carandiru (SOLD)
2001
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Wood Panel
20" x 20" x 1"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
(private collection)
Aftermath (SOLD)
2001
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Wood Panel
20" x 20" x 1"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
(private collection)
DIETO
2002
Acrylic Polymers and Beeswax on Wood Panel
24" x 24" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Conventional Bohemian
2001
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on wood panel
24" x 30" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Untitled-2001
2001
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on wood panel
24" x 30" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Hour of the Wolf
2000
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Wood Panel
24" x 30" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Petroglyphic Propinquities
1999
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on canvas
42" x 42"
Minimalist inspired abstraction of ancient lexicons as texture for monochromatic color field painting.
Cerulean
2002
Acrylic Polymers and Paint and Beeswax on Fiberglass Panel
32" x 32" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
JR is a Woman
2001
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Wood Panel
24" x 30" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
Origins (SOLD)
1999
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Fiberglass Panel
36" x 36" x 1/2"
Minimalist inspired abstract painting
(private collection)
Eureka! (SOLD)
1998
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powder and Paint on Wood Panel
24" x 24" x 1/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Massacre (SOLD)
1998
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powders and Paint on Wood Panel
24" x 24" x 1/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Untitled 1998
1998
Acrylic Polymers,Pure Pigment Powders and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
32" x 32" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting with square
Inner Sanctum (SOLD)
1998
Mixed Media on Fiberglass Panel
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Symbolic Logic
1998
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powder and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting with square
Sacrificial Invocation (SOLD) Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
1997
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment and Paint on Canvas
24" x 24" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
TOMY (SOLD)
1997
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powder and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic geometric abstract painting
(private collection)
Spiritual Journey
1997
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powders and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
William's House (SOLD) Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art
1997
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powder and Paint on Fiberglass Panel
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic geometric abstraction
(Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art)
HOC
1997
Acrylic Polymers, Pure Pigment Powder and Paint on Fiberglass Panle
16" x 16" x 3/4"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting with square center
Matrix
1996
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powders and Paint on Wood Panel
12" x 12" x 1"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
HOSAH(SOLD) Yeshiva University Museum of Art
1995
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powders and Paint on Canvas
48" x 60" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Listen (SOLD) Yeshiva University Museum Of Art
1994
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powders and Paint on Canvas
48" x 60" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(Yeshiva University Museum)
Monastral Enigma
1995
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powders and Paint on Canvas
18" x 18" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
"O Jerusalem" (SOLD)
1995
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powders, Bronze Dust, Paint on Canvas
24" x 24" x 1.5"
Minimalist inspired obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Path of Destiny (SOLD)
1995
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powder and Paint on Wood Panel
12" x 12" x 1"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Rite of Passage (SOLD)
1995
Acrylic Polymers, Pigment Powder, Paint on Wood Panel
12" x 12" x 1"
Minimalist inspired, obsessively marked monochromatic abstract painting
(private collection)
Tantric Dream
1994
Mixed acrylic polymers and pigment on canvas
36" x 36" x 1.5"
Post minimalist monochromatic panel with obsessive markings as texture surface
Abstract Realities
1994
Acrylic Polymers and Pigments on Canvas
36" x 36" x 1.5"
Post minimalist monochromatic painting with obsessive markings as texture surface
Where Have We Been
1994
Acrylic Polymers and Pigment on Canvas
30" x 30" x 1.5"
Post minimalist monochromatic panel with obsessive markings as texture surface
GHOST DANCE
1995
Acrylic Paints
48 x 48 inches
Densely textured, monochromatic geometric abstraction.
Photo: Etienne Frossard
Primordial Passage
1994
Acrylic Paint
18 x 18 inches
Monochromatic densely textured abstract painting
photo: Etienne Frossard
BLUE TABLET
1994
Acrylic Paint
24 x 24 inches
monochromatic densely textured abstract painting
Moments Are Consequences
1993
Acrylic Paint on Canvas
48 x 36 inches
Abstract textured painting