Kristy Luck: giving something a name doesn't make it real

10 July - 14 August 2021

Philip Martin Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new oil-on-linen paintings by Los Angeles-based artist, Kristy Luck. Luck's second exhibition at the gallery alludes to narratives of personal, familial, tribal and mythic origins.


Drawing upon memory, story and an inventory of family heirlooms, Luck feels into her family bonds and Navajo heritage. “Reflection is a doorway to knowing oneself,” Luck comments, but as her show title suggests, identity eludes descriptions by language and history. If giving something a name doesn’t make it real, what does make something real?


Several of Kristy Luck’s most recent works contemplate a reoccurring, active figure of unknown identity and activity. Luck maintains a shadow mask - a literal shroud of mystery - around the figure. At the same time, the figure is subject to illumination, both on and around it. An undeniable moment of pure aesthetic revelation occurs in each painting where such illumination appears. Luck revels in painting light. Whether real or apparition, primordial or personal, symbolic or characteristic, a reflection of the viewer’s own understanding - of self, identity and humanity - emerges alongside the recurrence of this figure.


Around these possible narratives, characters and reflections, the boundary between environment and object collapses and a setting both surreal and specific emerges. Luck paints imagined scenes constructed of personal objects locating a formative experience - tools of costuming, a detached ruff, a bracelet, all of which have been reorganized according to an unknowable standard of value and description. Berries of equal mass to human-like form, for instance; a pillow becomes a place, a bracelet is both a bond and an entry, tree branches and staircases extend beyond the exterior elemental realms of the wild and the domestic to reflect a more interior and psychological vantage point. Other objects and environments remain unidentifiable - their reference point of palpable significance but one deliberately withheld from viewers all the same, like a deeply buried secret Luck means not to keep, but to spare us from, as the title of the show suggests she will.


Kristy Luck (b. 1985, Woodstock, IL) received a BFA from Rockford University (Rockford, IL) and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL). Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Philip Martin Gallery (Los Angeles, CA); ODD ARK LA (Los Angeles, CA); Eastside International (Los Angeles, CA); and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Chicago, IL). Additionally, her work has been included in group shows at Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA); Jacob’s West (Los Angeles, CA); 0-0LA (Los Angeles, CA); Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, CA); Corbett vs. Dempsey (Chicago, IL); A Public Space (Fishers Island, New York); and Projet Pangée (Montreal, Canada). Luck was awarded the Lighthouse Works Fellowship in 2017. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Los Angeles Times, Architectural Digest, Artillery Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, The Editorial Magazine, and Opening Ceremony. Luck lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.


Kristy Luck’s exhibition of new oil-on-linen paintings is on view at the gallery through August 14, 2021.


Philip Martin Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10-4 and by appointment. Pre-scheduled appointments are available, and walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, or to get additional images, or information please email, or call 310-559-0100. Philip Martin Gallery is located at 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034 in the Culver City area of Los Angeles between Venice Blvd. and Washington Blvd., just south of the 10 Freeway.