A Film by Eric Minh Swenson.
LAUNCH LA is proud to present Let Me Explain, a new exhibition by Doug Edge. The art featured in this exhibition are not simply compelling pieces of abstract art – they are rich narratives, yielding to the careful observer the life-experience of a prolific and original American artist.
Though most pieces in Let Me Explain are new, it could rightly be said they have been more than five decades in the making. Over his artistic career Doug Edge accumulated a bucket of plastic scraps, occasionally topping it up with left-over catalyzed resin. In 1998 the bucket was finally full. On a whim Edge decided to saw through the accumulated plastic and resin mass, revealing an intricate cross-section of flowing shapes and colours. Spurred on by this discovery he cut out slices of the resin and polished them to a sheen. As Edge puts it, this process revealed “a new kind of imagery, molecular in detail. Despite their promise, Edge still wasn’t sure what to do with these cross-sections. In 2003 however, by combining a number of these resin slivers, Edge created ‘Dracula’s Butler’ – a visually imposing abstract piece just verging on the figurative. Though his muse took him elsewhere in-between, his earlier experiment kept drawing him back. In 2012 Edge began creating oil-paintings that imitated organic feel of the resin thin-sections. Over the last year Edge figured out a much more direct application for the resin and plastic pieces: creating high-resolution scans of the original slices and blowing them up to create plasticized panel pieces.
The artworks in Let Me Explain speak volumes about the career and life of their creator. Edge didn’t set out in life to become an artist, but found his way there through a series of similarly fortunate accidents. In 1962, an impulsive decision to abandon his studies in mechanical engineering at Valley State College and switch his major to art awoke in Edge a restless passion and curiosity. Moving from life-drawing and ceramics to large scale sculptural pieces, and finally to two-dimensional wall hangings and paintings, Edge’s experimental style has led him into ever onwards into bold new territory.
Now in his seventy-first year of life, Edge shows no signs that his fountain of inventive curiosity has been exhausted. If anything his ability to reinvent and raise new art like a phoenix from the detritus of old art proves the contrary. “I don’t know where these pieces are going or why they have to be done. All I know is they keep flowing. Who knows why or what’ll be the run.”
Doug Edge was born in Fennimore, Wisconsin in 1942. After discovering art at 19, Edge has been ceaselessly involved in the American art scene, not just as a creator but also as an educator, having taught at Cal Arts, UCSB Santa Barbara, the University of Illinois, Otis Parsons and Claremont Graduate School to name a few. His work has been exhibited extensively in group and solo-shows across the East and West Coast and can be found in permanent collections including MOMA New York, LACMA and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary art. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
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