Sailors are cautioned to avoid the windless waters of the doldrums but in Norton Juster’s 1961 novel, The Phantom Tollbooth, young Milo finds meaning in his journey into boredom. Laeh Glenn’s exhibition The Doldrums is an exploration of suspended time, flatness, and the potential of melancholia.
Unequivocally shaped by tone, Glenn’s paintings are long-resonating in that they often hit deep frequencies of distance, absence, mediation, nostalgia, and absurdity. Drawing from and manipulating imagery sourced online, Glenn’s paintings reference the monotony of everyday reality while reveling in the bliss of escape into fantasy. Like the magical quality of sleepiness which reminds us of human frailty under the weight of the day while creating a mystical twilight space between consciousness and illusion; Glenn’s paintings create an elusive and subtly lingering mood.
Glenn’s practice explores the conflation of historical and contemporary precedents in painting and the way in which we often experience images today, through their digital representations online. Her paintings address the digital life of an image; how repetition and sharing affect quality and context and how a physical painting can speak to the altered and damaged images that surround us. Although her source material is diverse, Glenn’s paintings are uniformly characterized by a flattened application of paint. Her perfectly articulated edges and matte surfaces are executed in refined and controlled color palettes. She often returns to the same image multiple times, with each subsequent painting shifting slightly in tonality, texture or scale. These subtle shifts mimic the effect of an image’s digital experience as it travels from screen to screen. A signature recurring display methodology is a border of raw canvas surrounding the painting and a handmade wooden frame, reinforcing the object quality of Glenn’s paintings in contrast to their digital inspirations.
Glenn invited Apogee Graphics, a design and publishing company started by artists Laura Owens and Asha Schechter to present a project alongside the exhibition.
Laeh Glenn lives and works in Sebastopol, CA.
Laeh Glenn: The Doldrums
Exhibition Dates: September 17 – October 24, 2020
1150 25TH STREET
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94107
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm
Altman Siegel is open to visitors by appointment.
To ensure that your experience at the gallery is safe and pleasurable, they are taking rigorous measures to protect visitors and staff from transmitting COVID-19.