Little Known Factors
Little Known Factors depicts situations in which figures are constricted or hemmed in by overbearing elements around them. Fences, gates, menacing vehicles, and oversized architecture restrict the agency of characters within the paintings. The tension between figures and these familiar yet subtly antagonistic environments suggests instability within our bedrock institutions. Architecture in the images is overwhelming, out of scale with the figures milling nearby. Pattern is used to further accentuate the disjunctive character of spaces, and in a sense to create a field against which figures must react. The people in Livensperger’s paintings are shuffling paperwork, gathering to gawk, watching helplessly, or sneaking away. In every case they are defined by a sense of futility. Though her work contains all the ingredients necessary to concoct narratives, she sidesteps straightforward storytelling. The result is a queasy inability to figure out what is going on or what consequences might unfold.
Livensperger paints and draws in a variety of media, including gouache, flashe, and oil. Her process starts with small drawings and builds to mid and large scale paintings, frequently detouring through multiple variations as my palette and ideas fluctuate. She draws from a wide variety of image sources including old film and tv stills, photographs she takes or finds, and life drawing; it takes many drawings to knit these sources together into a satisfactory image.
About the Artist
Beth Livensperger is a painter who lives in Queens and works in Brooklyn. She has exhibited widely within New York City and beyond. Currently, Livensperger has a studio through Chashama’s Space to Create program and will be an artist in residence at the Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts this summer. Previous residencies include the Abrons Art Center in New York City as well as the Vermont Studio Center, among others. She holds a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union and an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art.