Liza Lou, White Cube Hoxton Square

I was a little early for a meeting in Hoxton Square and decided to make up the time inside the White Cube. Liza Lou’s solo show, which finishes on Saturday, was a beautiful retreat from the baking streets.

There would have been a time when the idea of art without pleasure was simply incomprehensible. But pleasure in its purest form is often alien to contemporary artists. Liza Lou’s bead paintings are not afraid to revel and wallow or to indulge in a girlish lust for beads. I am something of a magpie myself and swoon at the glittering beaded surfaces.

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The strength of the show though is in its rejection of pure glitter for abstraction, minimalism and conceptualism. Painters such as Agnes Martin and Georges Seurat are referenced in the gradations of beads, the rough squares of colours or meditative and blended stripes. It is incredible how much like a painting a surface of laboriously applied beads can appear. 

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However the best works are those which play with texture; overlapping cascades of weighty beads, or veils and drapes which heavily hang over the frame of an empty canvas. The beads also offer a structure which allow Liza Lou to explore the idea of painting in 3D and to create works which are tantalisingly sculptural.

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