Press Releases

news release Akron Art Museum Presents the Gravity-Defying Scenes of Mernet Larsen

For Release: March 13, 2019

Akron, Ohio—Impossible angles and gravity-defying spaces inhabited by geometric figures abound in Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented, an exhibition of mixed media works by the artist opening at the Akron Art Museum on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Larsen’s work portrays angular people performing ordinary activities—sitting around a table, reading in bed or attending a meeting—but the precarious spaces they occupy are composed of skewed, contradictory or reversed lines of perspective.

Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph said, “Larsen’s scenes should delight and confound viewers as they examine the impossible spatial structures that house the kinds of familiar situations we find ourselves in every day. Through her masterful construction of space, she is able to disorient—or reorient—workaday scenes to tease out the underlying psychological and interpersonal dynamics.”

The artist cites influences ranging from 12th century Japanese scrolls to Italian Renaissance and Russian Constructivist painting. In some of her works, Larsen employs reverse perspective, where figures that are furthest away are larger than those in the foreground. In others, multiple relationships between figure and background confuse the vantage point, so that the viewer has the sense of being inside and outside of the painting at the same time.

Rudolph said, “Larsen imbues her work with a kind of deadpan humor that is expressed through sidelong glances, a subtly raised eyebrow or wrenched hands. Those gestures combined with the figures’ seeming indifference to their off-kilter positioning within a space render the scenes wry, anxious and awkward. Through subtle but highly expressive body language set within shifting and unstable environments, Larsen reveals an essence of everyday human interaction.”

Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented will be on view at the Akron Art Museum from March 16 through September 8, 2019.

Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Ohio Arts Council.

Accompanying Programs
The museum will host a tour of Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented for members on Wednesday, April 3 at 11:00 A.M. The tour takes place in the Judith Bear Isroff gallery and will be led by Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph. Register online.

On Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 P.M., join Mernet Larsen in conversation with Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph about how the artist plays with perspective to turn ordinary situations upside down, in turn illuminating the psychology of our everyday interactions. Public reception to follow. Admission is free. Seating is limited. Register online. 

On Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 P.M., the museum will host an edition of its monthly yoga series, Yoga and Meditation, that will take its inspiration from the exhibition, Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented. The class is all-levels, led by certified Akron yoga instructors and presents a unique opportunity to stretch and strengthen the body and mind. Register online.

For more information about Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented at the Akron Art Museum, visit the museum at Join the conversation on social media using #MernetLarsen and #AkronArtMuseum and follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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