LAST Projects is pleased to present Serge Serum: Lingered Memories, a solo painting exhibition. Serge Serum is a self taught artist, born and raised in Los Angeles, whose primary focus is portraiture, which he approaches through mixed media painting and photography. Serum's formal portraiture, and tense and enigmatic narrative scenes, alternate between the discomfiting and achingly tender.
"Serum's figures, with faces painted in wild and abrasive gestures, are rendered to fit the particular pitch of emotional torment in his subjects. The backgrounds of his paintings appear as often eerily calm and neutral settings on which the drama of human personality takes shape while his figures are fixed so firmly to the picture plane, they accentuates the sense of revulsion, horror as well as the ugly, beautiful, and sublime qualities of human countenance.
Facture, touch, and the malleability of paint are central to the expressive effects of Serum's painting and his work demonstrate a range of painterly approaches that recall artists as diverse as Leon Golub, Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon and Cecily Brown. In these portraits, a shift from sensuous handling of densely colored paint to more subdued modeling of flattened forms to frenetic line work that separates and holds figures together, operate in direct relationship to the psychological make up of the people and situations he portrays and create a sense of movement both between figures and also contained within each individual. Movement that is more like the violence of a slap in the face than the grace of an elegant dance.
Serum conveys these feelings of splendor and disgust of flesh, antipathy and admiration for the human likeness through the myriad considerations of how paint can be fixed to the surface of a canvas. The dynamism of composition and paint marks brings these figures to life." - Rachid Bouhamidi
"You can paint someone how they are, but a million other people can paint them the same way. [You] imitate a photograph knowing that it is always going to be more real, and I got angry at that, and just threw paint everywhere. I try to make beautiful things ugly. I like to combine the two." - Serge Serum