Tom LaDuke: Exposing handmade deceptions

Tom LaDuke,”A Gothic Plot,” 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas over panel. 60 x 80″
 Tom LaDuke, “You’re Like Me,”2010, oil and acrylic on canvas over panel, 75 x 100”
Installation view

In the LA Times, Christopher Knight reviews Tom LaDuke’s show at Angles Gallery, which recently opened in Blum and Poe’s old space on La Cienega. Knight calls LaDuke a latter-day Romantic, in full revolt against digital-age norms. “All of LaDuke’s paintings are layered, shifting between abstraction and representation and with bits of suggestive visual information that don’t coalesce. In one, a precarious stack of cardboard boxes is interrupted by elements of Jan van Eyck’s 1434 ‘Arnolfini Wedding Portrait,’ in which the painter acted as a literal witness to the marital union. In another, a pack of hunters and their dogs from a wintry picture by Pieter Brueghel the Elder seems to descend onto Isabella Rossellini’s luminous face in a still from the 1986 movie ‘Blue Velvet.’

“In all of these, a sinister (or at the very least melancholic) world lies just beneath the surface of perception. Light �whether directly experienced, reflected, remembered or depicted � is critical. Taking a page from Gerhard Richter, albeit in his own distinctive way, LaDuke exploits a painting’s capacity for exposing handmade deceptions � a useful tool in a culture awash in the slippery photographic phantoms of reproduction. One of the nicest touches in these large-scale paintings is the little cliffs of oil paint that hang precariously off the edges of the canvas. LaDuke emphasizes materiality, even when his own deft handling suppresses the paintbrush’s tracks.”

Tom LaDuke: Auto Destruct,” Angles Gallery,  Los Angeles, CA. Through February 20, 2010.


  1. i'm a little bummed laduke's painting over his 'foggy' grey compositions .. but if it gets him someplace new i suppose it's for the best.

  2. "hanging precariously" is absolutely right. strictly speaking from an art conservators perspective -I studied at the Courtald Institute of Art and have worked closely with the Tate, this is not a very good idea (even if it looks neat) just as most gimmicks in painting are not a very good idea. The reason is this, Oil Paint applied over any sort of Acrylic Paint -including airbrush, be it attached to a firm panel or applied upon a fabric support will eventually pull away from and break free from the surface, ie. either peel, flake or crack off, due to the varying drying rates and lack of absorbtion of these two very incompatable mediums-Oil Paint gets a lot less flexible over time while Acrylic paint remains extremely flexible, both continually expanding and retracting at differing rates due to humidity, temperature and so on-impasto would only exacerbate the problem-scientifically speaking Oil & Acrylic should never be mixed. unless it is intentional and that is what the artist means by "Auto Destruct" he would do very well to keep it all one medium or the other if he wants his work to last

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