Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected

Thursday, October 2, 2014Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lark Pien

Born 1972, San Francisco
Lives and works in Portland, Oregon

The Answer, 2014
Sumi ink and Gesso on plywood
Chosen artwork: Untitled #204 (2004) by Il Lee

In viewing Untitled #204, Lark Pien sensed a kindred spirit in Il Lee’s use of simple materials and tools: a ballpoint pen on canvas. The nearly obsessive focus on mark-making provided an additional touchstone, as Pien found in the marks emergent forms and compositions. As a cartoonist and comic artist, she too uses lines to convey information—the fewer lines the better, simple, abstracted, and suggestive. A fan of crossing boundaries and making mash-ups, Pien surrounded Lee’s work with her own intervention. She framed the exquisitely fine output of Lee’s pen in a simple and familiar visual vocabulary, an environment that does not easily recede into the background. In so doing, she has divided the viewer’s focus: his work is in her mind. Pien's intervention is expressed in three related parts. The first, entitled The Answer, creates an environment for seeking answers. The Story, part two, is a narrative, a cautionary tale of a man who suffers the consequences of giving “The Answer.” Click here to view The Encounter, part three of the intervention.

Lark Pien is an award-winning cartoonist, artist, and author of children’s books and graphic novels. Her work has been included in New York Times’ best-selling publications and has twice been nominated for National Book Awards.