Layering is a fundamental process in the making of art. But in some art the act of resting, nestling, or sandwiching one factor upon, within, or between others – visually and/or physically – drives the artwork’s conception and appearance. In such work layering functions as a key strategy within various quite disparate techniques employed by painters, sculptors, photographers, assemblagists, and all manner of artmakers. 

A survey of layering among contemporary artists cannot be thorough. Too many artists layer as a matter of course, as a way of building an image or exploring a medium, for any such show even to pretend to such comprehensiveness. “That Layered Look” looks at a dozen Los Angeles-area artists whose work highlights the act and results of layering – and may otherwise have nothing to do with one another. Many media, and hybrids thereof, present themselves here – as they would in any LA-based sampling, given local artists’ proclivity for experimenting with and between materials and disciplines. The common thread among these uncommon works is the exploitation of layered elements, and the particular visual effects those elements yield. The layering can be illusory, it can consist of elements that do not touch one another, and it can marry different, even discordant shapes and substances, not to mention subject matters. 

“The Layered Look” looks at the art of carefully poised and managed accretion – and at carefully poised and managed accretion as art. 

Peter Frank