Laura Truitt: “Re-Visions” at William Havu Gallery

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Comprised of nearly 20 paintings and monotypes, Laura Truitt’s “Re-Visions” featured a range of her sophisticated interpretations of the built environment set in nature. There are those with sketchy, if recognizable, imagery. Then, those that have been so thoroughly reworked as to seem be all but non-objective. Finally are those works representing discrete steps somewhere in between those two poles. Among the more representational Truitts is Re-envisioned Landscape, in which an under-construction industrial facility is set in the shadow of the mountains. The structures she’s inserted into the scenery are skeletal and incomplete, making them almost transparent in places. The success of the representational illusion owes much to the sweeping vista of a mountain range in the background; but mostly it’s her insertion of those skeletal structures, done in linear perspective, which reinforces the illusion of three-dimensional space.

At the other end of her output are those pieces that seem at first to exemplify pure abstraction, though they actually represent the same subject as the more clearly representational ones-a structure set in nature. In the marvelous Pile Heap Jumble Stack, a riot of roughly rectilinear shapes have been set at diagonals defined by perspective outlines evocative of a scene that looks like there’s been a demolition in the foreground with new construction in the background. The scene is merely suggested by the perspective lines that converge at the top center of the painting. To carry it out, Truitt uses a complex palette dominated by an array of oranges in shades from Hazmat to rust, accented by other shades including a pungent turquoise. The paint both honors and violates the margins established by the outlined shapes and as a result, the painting functions simultaneously as both an abstract work and a representational one.

Truitt lives and works in Fort Collins, which is also where she earned her MFA, at Colorado State University. Although Denver is the state’s art center, Fort Collins has long had a significant contemporary scene as well. Like Denver, Fort Collins is going through an unprecedented building boom marked by the demolition of old buildings and the construction of new ones. The references to buildings going up and down are easy to discern in Truitt’s works. In her artist statement she alludes to this, writing “my work explores structures between life and death; construction… and destruction”. So in a way, her pieces present telling documents of their place and time.

Image:
Re-envisioned Landscape
2015
Laura Truitt
Oil on canvas
20” x 15”
Photo: courtesy William Havu Gallery