Laurie Lambrecht, Jungle Road @Rick Wester

JTF (just the facts): A total of 18 color photographs, framed in brown wood and unmatted, and hung against white walls in the front gallery space. All of the works are archival pigment prints, made in 2012 or 2013. The prints are shown in one of three sizes: 60×40 (in editions of 6+1AP), 33×22 (in editions of 10+2AP), and 21×14 (in editions of 10+2AP). There are 3 small prints, 14 medium prints, and 1 large print on view. (Less than perfect installation shots below.)

Comments/Context: Laurie Lambrecht’s images of the Florida jungle are a lyrical sandwich of competing styles. Taken during a recent stay at the Rauschenberg Artist Residency program on Captiva Island, her photographs mix linear foreground crispness with dappled background blurs, using the elemental hanging vines as her subject matter. It’s as if she’s laid abstract sets of Barnett Newman zips on top of soft Pointillist landscapes, playing with the visual contrast of immediate gestural formality and the impressionistic colored dots of the shadowy forest.

In a prior life, Lambrecht was a successful designer of hand knit sweaters, and weaving individual metallic strands of yarn through the garments was part of her unique approach. That aesthetic motif has echoes in these recent pictures, where Lambrecht has transformed her found vines into a kind of controlled mark making. Loose hanging strands twist into curves and arcs like Aaron Siskind’s seaweed studies and straight vines become taut vertical wires, often singled out and brought forward in neon yellow, or bright green, or slippery red. Dense thickets of vines act like curtains or mimic the drenching lines of downpours, covering the surface of her images with woven repetitions and obscuring scrims. Too close vines drift into interrupting slashes of color, creating a third layer of distance to be explored.

Her backgrounds have been allowed to dissolve into a filtered echo of their natural specificity. Light flares into the camera lens, creating kaleidoscopes of pentagrams in shades of green, or wanders into dark corners with deep blue highlights. Iridescent colors scatter in the distance.

In the end, this body of work is a condensed theme and variation exercise, with Lambrecht bringing alternate portions of the compositions into focus, allowing our attention to wander from single strands to far off undergrowth. Together, the photographs are an unpretentious example of a self-contained project; the pictures would make an effective artist’s book, hopefully made small enough to be intimate, allowing the range of subtle experiences to be savored.

Collector’s POV: The prints in this show are priced based on size: the 60×40 prints are $12500, the 33×22 prints are $4500,and the 21×14 prints are $2200 (including frames). Lambrecht’s work has little secondary market history, so gallery retail remains the best option for those collectors interested in following up.

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JTF (just the facts): Published in 2023 by MACK Books (here). Hardcover, 17 x 21 cm, 192 pages, with 87 color and black-and-white photographs. Includes texts by the artist and ... Read on.

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