Shotgun Review

Geometria Concretus

By Genevieve Quick September 25, 2012

Thumbnail: Lucy Puls. Geometria Concretus (12-34), 2012; photograph, aluminum panel, cast polyurethane; 23.25 x 18.5 x 3 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Electric Works, San Francisco.

Resting on custom resin shelves, Lucy Puls’s photographs of foreclosed homes continue her long-standing investigation of detritus and domesticity that began with exhibitions at Stephen Wirtz Gallery in 2006 and Electric Works in 2010. By restructuring, reorienting, and at times obfuscating their subject matter, Puls transforms her tightly shot interiors into disorienting plays on perception.

Puls zeros in on both identifiable objects—a toilet paper roll, a light fixture, doors and windows—and more abstract details of housing materials and intimate spaces: a corner, peeling paint, wood flooring, tile. She further obscures her already abstracted subject matter by incorporating multiple exposures and rotating many of her prints in their final display. While the photographic components of her pieces are rotated, Puls’s balanced sense of color and shape makes the overall pieces feel satisfying upright. Yet, in trying to identify objects, materials, and orientations, viewers may find themselves reexamining the familiar and domestic from a vertiginous remove.

To add further dimensionality to the pieces, Puls uses the photographic print itself as both canvas and sculptural object. Rather than keeping her photographs flush with the wall, she leans them on custom-cast sculptural shelves so that they create triangular forms against the flat surface. Additionally, Puls outlines the intersection of corners and walls within the gallery with gouache and resin, echoing the geometry within the image. She also smartly deviates from these edges to create new lines that cross over an open door or zigzag across a ceiling. Suggestive of renovation, Puls’s amendments resemble house painters’ practice of “cutting in” the edges of a room with a brush before using a roller on the larger expanses. In contrast to her addition of gouache and resin, Puls uses tape to pull off


Lucy Puls. Geometria Concretus (12-24), 2012; photograph, aluminum panel, cast polyurethane. 23.25 x 18.5 x 3 in. Courtesy of the Artist and Electric Works, San Francisco.

parts of the printed surface. Rather than altering the images prior to printing, these additive and subtractive processes reassert the photographic print as an object.

Geometria Concretus elegantly calls attention to the details of a home without coming off as a platitudinous response to the distressing state of the housing crisis. Although many of the homes in Puls’s photographs are in disrepair, her formal precision bypasses the nostalgia and romanticism of ruin porn, allowing the artist to explore more adventurous terrain.


Geometria Concretus is on view at Electric Works, in San Francisco, through October 6, 2012.

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