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16 Miles of String

Liz Luisada and Shaun Krupa at Klaus von Nichtssagend

11 June, 2011

by Andrew Russeth

Liz Luisada and Shaun Krupa, both members of RISD‘s class of 2001, cover a fair amount of painting’s charted territory in their modest two-person show at Klaus von Nichtssagend. Krup appears to be the more rigorous, hard-edged abstractionist of the pair, at least until you read his titles. Two small paintings — one black, one orange, both lined with white grids (pictured above) — are named Coral Reef and Abandoned Mansion. They’re nearly identical, though the latter is stuck with a few patches of hair and its grid vanishes at its center, as if to ask how much difference can be wrought from only minute change.

Shaun Krupa, Abandoned Mansion, 2009. Acrylic, house paint, and hair on canvas, 24.25 x 20.25 in.; Shaun Krupa, Coral Reef, 2011. 24.25 x 20 in. Oil on canvas.; Liz Luisada, Dang Dog, 2011. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 in.

Compared to Krup and even her own past work, Luisada offers a looser touch. Sourcing “imagery from dreams and mysticism,” according to the press release, she builds almost-abstract canvases (there’s always a hint of a face or a figure) that once would have been labeled lyrical. This may be a transitional moment in her work, her crowd-pleasing-Techicolor, Sonia Delaunay-in-a-blender style morphing into something breezier.

The most interesting painting in the show belongs to Krup and includes not a single drop of paint. It’s a vivid rainbow of an umbrella that he has gamely stretched to a frame and titled Don’t Open That Umbrella in the House! It’s too late for that, but its bravado is a welcome exclamation point in an otherwise determinedly quiet display.