By Stephen Glass
The overriding quotient of vitality in the paintings by Albert Lichten stems from authoritative capacity to infuse each painterly effort with a breakdown of figure-ground relationships. There is a process of luring the viewer into an associational game within these aesthetic efforts, of attempting to lead the viewer into identifying representational and figurative elements within the frame. But the act of painting, finally, is the issue here, not suggestive peek-a-boo inferences to mimetic reality.
The metaphysical and ontological musings that are suggested in the artist’s work are put into play through the positive ambiguities and interchange of oppositions found in each work. It veers from being a constitutive element or it can be seen as a self-contained element in its own right. The artist’s vocabulary ranges from being deliberate to accidental, from being gingerly to idiosyncratic.
Fundamentally, the mysteriousness aspect of each of four paintings exhibited recently at Artifact stems from the psychic residue left between the ineffable distance of conscious reality and unconscious processes of recording the beauty of Lichten’s painterly application. This is the gift, which this artist so provocatively brings to the world and it evolves from a rare discernment and the capacity to see beyond sight’s everyday parameters.