Jo Applin gives an insight into both Lee Lozano’s life and her work, contextualizing her practice and highlighting her response to the constraints of constitutional systems, gender dynamics, power, money, and politics.
Created in 1962–1963, the early paintings and drawings on view at Hauser & Wirth Somerset use airplanes as a central image and can be considered as examples of the artist’s passionate exploration of creative energy in its purist form. This focused body of early work exposes a complex and deeply intimate inner life grappling with one-sided gender and societal dichotomies, while other works display a form of ferocious humour and playfulness, exploiting the rhetoric of exaggeration to its most cogent effect.
Her raw expressionist brush strokes create powerful works imbued with a very personal iconography, including genitals, religious symbols, tools and body parts. Lozano’s short lived but influential career remains a source of fascination, lauded by Lucy Lippard as the foremost female conceptual artist of her era in New York. Jo Applin is author of ‘Lee Lozano: Not Working’ and ‘Eccentric Objects: Rethinking Sculpture.’ She teaches modern and contemporary art at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London.