If we've learned anything since the recession hit over five years ago, it's to practice a bit more thrift in our lives. To this idea, Lefkowitz whole heartedly embraces the idea that you don't need anything fancy to make a piece of art. But it's not just the material that the artist has chosen to paint on that relates to the show's title. The work as a whole speaks to using the imagination, as opposed to worldly goods, as the greatest means of survival.
The cardboard boxes, which serve as the canvas for these watercolor paintings, are also are the subjects of each piece, as images of boxes, formed to create structures and architecture of imaginary buildings, are painted on the cardboard material.
Meanwhile the cardboard canvases are themselves architectural, evoking a sense of towering structure. In addition to being the place where the painting lives, they are a kind of sculpture. There's a dialogue then, between how the piece is put together and what it's about, creating an energetic back and forth between them.
The box as a building brings up an association with cardboard being the lowest form of shelter that a person can use to protect himself from the environment. Lefkowitz creates these rather elaborate designs of building-like structures made up of boxes, offering imaginative possibilities for what these towers of boxes could be.
Lefkowitz's use of the watercolors is quite subtle, with the colors of the paints blending into the cardboard, at times more like a stain than paint. In some works, like Crevasse, he only uses one color, though he's still able to create a sense of depth. Other pieces, like Extended Art, are much more colorful, but nevertheless retain a sense of simplicity.
Presented in inconjunction with the Walker's Edward Hopper exhibition, the powerpoint lecture explores the connections between the Hopper exhibition and the work in "Austerity Plans."
IF YOU GO:
"Austerity Plans: Corrugated Boxes"
Soo Visual Art Center
Through May 18