RIP Paul Laffoley (1940–2015)

November 23, 2015
By
thanaton_unfinished

Paul Laffoley, Thanton III, 1989.

We’ve long been set to publish the closest volume yet to a catalogue raisonné for the visionary artist Paul Laffoley (1940–2015) in Spring 2016, and thus, were all the more saddened to hear of Laff0ley’s death last week. If you’re unfamiliar, even the tone and pitch of his NY Times obituary should offer a lens into his work—it’s titled, “Paul Laffoley, Painter Inspired by Time Travel and Aliens, Dies at 80.”

Although working in what practically redefines the nature of “liminal space”—engaging in visual and textual inquiries positioned someplace between New Age theology, mathematical abstraction, mystical systems, and all senses of the term extraterrestrial (he claimed to have seen the film The Day the Earth Stood Still 873 times)—Laffoley’s work was also uncannily prescient, as you can note from the NYT obit below:

“It is kind of like taking money out of a bank machine, when you’re looking at a screen and you’re called upon to touch the screen,” he said of “Thanaton III,” a painting from 1989, in a 1999 interview shown on “Disinformation,” a television series on Channel 4 in Britain. “You know that you can’t go through the screen, but you do also know that there’s something behind the screen that’s organizing the experience that you have, only in this case the payoff is not money but a type of knowledge.”

From Dan Byers, senior curator at the ICA Boston:

“The great Boston artist Paul Laffoley died on on Monday, November 16. I’d seen his work over the years, and had always been an admirer. He loved some of the same 20th-century utopian, cross-disciplinary thinkers I do, and he made beautiful, strange, and complex works in response to their ideas. His mandala-like paintings, architectural models and plans, and assemblage-like sculptures are a welcome, deeply informed response to an increasingly formulaic approach to integrating theories and their authors into artworks.”

The Essential Paul Laffoley contains almost 100 of his paintings, reproduced in full color, each accompanied by a “thought-form,” or text specific to their making, in addition to an introduction by editor and gallerist Douglas Walla, a biography by fellow artist Steven Moskowitz, and essays by scholars Linda Dalrymple Henderson and Arielle Saiber.

To read more about The Essential Paul Laffoley, click here.

 

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