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Momentum: an experiment in the unexpected

Lark Pien

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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.