Can the act of Painting, itself, be vandalized? The answer is yes, it should be! — and what's more, street-bred, Bushwick-based artist Lucas Moran is already on the job, forging naif-yet-sophisticated works in oil on canvas that hold the wall with the gravity of their compositional sensibility even as they fly in the face of convention. Who can get away with odd decisions of palette and process like these? Yet the evidence is in: Tactile surfaces puckered with 'skins' of gooey wet-look enamel; oddly phosphorescent, unapologetic stains; and everywhere passages that are as indebted to Ab Ex gestural bravura they are to property damage. "Squid for the Gods" looks like a glowing jellyfish that swallowed a map of the cosmos (and feels a bit ill); "Hoarder" looks like a mudflower blooming in a petri dish. Figuration works its way in — and leaves, unnoticed. And all of Moran's imagery plays games with your unconscious. Willem de Kooning and Deitch Projects' bad-boy Todd James hold equal weight in Moran's personal canon.
Moran, who hails from Brooklyn, began his career as a 'writer' (street artist) at the age of 11, in the heyday of train and mural graffiti practice in New York City. By the age of 19 (after being arrested three times) he dedicated himself to a rigorous studio practice infused with a deep respect for painting's formal and academic history. Moran has since exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions at prestigious New York galleries, including Vanessa Buia (solo show 2007) and Freight + Volume (group exhibition, 2009) in Chelsea, and his sculptural works will be exhibited this Fall alongside the work of UK artist Christopher Brooks at "Frozen Karaoke" at 215 Bowery on New York's Lower East Side.