Carol Ladewig is a painter best known for her ambitious Painting Time series, beginning with Year in Color: 2011, in which she painted one 6 x 6 inch color field painting each day and assembled them into a concrete expression of the passing of a year’s worth of time. This was the centerpiece of a solo exhibition at Slate Contemporary in Oakland and accompanying catalog “Painting Time” (2013). This work represents the essence of an art practice rooted in diaristic writing and drawing, reflects Ladewig’s interest in memory and everyday lived experience, and draws from a profound engagement with pigment and color-mixing.

Continuing through 2020, Ladewig experimented with differing approaches to this laborious, serial method of constructing a painting. These began with more abstract, process-based methodologies, including Year in Color: Lunar Phases (2012) and Painting Time: Season, Winter 2016, recently featured in the article “Time is an Object” (American Scientist, October, 2023), which addresses the physical nature of time.

As the series progressed, it began to incorporate representational elements, including Painting Time: Days (2015), which features subjects drawn from domestic life and the studio, harkening back to Ladewig’s more pictorial early work. Each of these paintings is a negotiation between our subjective experience of the passing of time and the imperfect and culturally-specific ways we measure and record time.

Ladewig’s propensity to mix representational and abstract approaches is echoed by her use of a wide variety of media, including monoprints, charcoal, encaustics, oil painting, photographic collage, and more. Her recent works make use of acrylic, Prismacolor, and gouache on the same canvas, an unaffected and approachable way of working that enables viewers to relate to her process.

After 2020, partially in response to the trauma of COVID-19 and the disorienting phenomenon of pandemic time, Ladewig began working on the series Painting Time: Moments (2021-present), which incorporated two distinct approaches. The first found her deepening her engagement with representational painting and memory, using the grid to structure collage-like paintings that juxtapose everyday objects and art supplies, such as bottles, plants, shoes, paintbrushes, or chairs.

She also began using the modular method with which she had assembled her Painting Time calendars to construct sculptural paintings. Linking together several small square, circular, or triangular panels, she creates loosely connected networks. This enables her to create literal connections between paintings that depict memories, geometric abstractions, appropriated images and text, color-fields, and atmospheric pointillist designs.

These works challenge the Western notion of mechanistic, linear timekeeping that structures our lives with working hours, time stamps, and deadlines. They offer a more open-ended approach to the passage of time, including cyclical or rhizomatic time. Ladewig points to writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, whose speculative worlds are informed by a deep anthropological interest in how non-Western societies perceive and depict time. Painting Time: Moments embodies the ways that we actually experience time, especially in retrospect, as a nonlinear series of impressions, curiously resistant to strict ordering. This work is an expression of human subjectivity that allows for fresh ways to perceive the unfolding of our lives.
16 ft
12 ft
© Carol Ladewig. FolioLink © Kodexio ™ 2024
© Carol Ladewig. FolioLink © Kodexio ™ 2024
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