Lakshmi Muirhead – Margins, 2022. Image courtesy of the J. Rinehart Gallery.

Lakshmi Muirhead’s solo show As If is currently exhibited at The J. Rinehart Gallery, located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square Arts District. 

Muirhead has previously shown her work in group exhibits in The J. Rinehart Gallery and several other Seattle galleries. This is her second solo show at The J. Rinehart Gallery. Additionally, Muirhead was the 2018 recipient of Cornish College of Art’s prestigious Neddy Award in painting. 

Muirhead’s paintings are a meditation on the concept of art for art’s sake, embodying the notion that art can and should exist independently from a clearly defined purpose or meaning. As the artist states: “Maybe this is what freedom looks like for an artist: acting “as if” the work itself is autonomous.”

As If’s large-scale mixed-media paintings were created through an intensive layering process involving applying plaster, graphite, and acrylic onto plywood. The visual effects of this technique result in multi-layered, highly textural paintings with a striking and austere presence. 

These abstract paintings appear reflective of both manufactured and organic materials such as stone or concrete. The surface of the paintings looks almost shimmering from certain angles, reflecting light in a way that contrasts with their overall compositional starkness. As Muirhead mentions in her artist’s statement on her personal website with regards to experiencing her paintings: “I love how the viewing is affected by the light, one’s mood, perspective and experience.”

As If runs through January 28th at the J. Rinehart Gallery, 319 Third Ave. S., Seattle.

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