What's on Los Angeles | Index

by Jody Zellen

December 5, 2019

Linda Besemer
An Abundance of Errors
Vielmetter Los Angeles
November 2 - December 21, 2019

Linda Besemer installation views.

It has been five years since her last solo exhibition, and during this time Linda Besemer has been experimenting. Her new works in An Abundance of Errors are paintings of glitches— images of the graphical chaos and disorder that occurs on screen when computer programs malfunction. No two glitches are the same. Old television screen errors displayed waves of zig-zagging lines. Today's computer glitches are colorful collages of intertwining moire patterns and cascading pixels with jittery edges.

In the past, Besemer's process was additive. She essentially fabricated acrylic tapestries embedded with complex patterns creating hybrids between painting and sculpture. These slabs of pure paint, more than 1/4 inch thick, were often draped over metal bars so that both the front and back sides of the works were visible. The pieces contained overlapping lines, grids and geometric shapes that formed patterns and created the illusion of three-dimensional space. While these works shared an affinity with Op Art, Besemer was also interested in exploring the materiality of acrylic paint and how it functioned as a solid substance. Perhaps Besemer felt she had exhausted the possibilities within this method of painting as her new works are more traditional in their presentation yet just as complex in their concept and construction.

To create the paintings in An Abundance of Errors, Besemer layers her acrylics, taping off specific areas within the frame which allows different planes of vibrant colors to intersect in mystifying and beautiful ways, while still creating the illusion of depth. Lil' Red (all works 2019) is a fusion of vertical stripes filled with rainbow colored gradients interwoven with arcs and concentric circles that shift in tonalities creating a kaleidoscopic effect. In D+G Space a background of black and white lines form catenary curves that are bisected along the diagonal by triangular shaped full spectrum gradients that recede into space. The result is a dizzying array of lines and colors. Warpy is another large-scale work that takes viewers on a visual journey through rainbow toned columnar structures that overlap a vortex of black and white moires. The melange of criss-crossing planes creates an impossible and fantastical space that is both atmospheric and architectural.

It is curious that Besemer chooses to paint digital artifacts and perhaps the 'abundance of errors' she references is an ironic nod to the instability and unpredictability of the digital world. That she carefully transforms these anomalies into paint, representing the digital in analogue form, calls attention to this schism. Each work is a puzzle that can't be solved or reverse engineered, as the rhythm of Besemer's geometry makes no logical sense. That their point of departure is a glitch reiterates this impossibility and makes the paintings even more fascinating to behold.