February 21-March 7
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Larisa Aukon relishes pushing artistic boundaries and meeting creative challenges. In Aukon’s solo show at Paul Scott Gallery this month, collectors can expect to see the Arizona-based artist explore expressive new color palettes and unconventional compositions. “For this show, I really want to break all possible rules and get away with it,” she says.
SIX HOURS IN STOCKHOLM, which is featured in the show, is an example of Aukon’s efforts to break a few rules. In this painting she sets out to draw viewers into the European city scene by leading their eyes around the painting without allowing them to land on a focal point. For Aukon, a focal point is tantamount to a stop sign, telling viewers to leave the painting. The show features 20 such fresh, innovative works by the artist. In addition to urbanscapes, the show features landscapes and florals with the artist’s signature bold brush strokes and richly layered colors.
Architecture and old buildings have long held a special allure as subject matter for Aukon, an appeal that originated as far back as her days as an art student in Riga, Latvia. Structures allow her to explore the interplay of different shapes, colors, and textures. But most importantly, old cities and buildings hold many mysteries. “The moods, the history, and the stories that are imprinted on the walls of the buildings are so inspiring,” Aukon says.
When it comes to landscapes, the artist displays some different color palettes in the show. She says that new subject matter forces her to expand her palette. Aukon, who often paints the terrain of northern Arizona and southern Utah, takes on the southern Arizona landscape in works such as MEDITATION BREAK. Compared to the reds and oranges of northern Arizona, the south was colorless and gray, more subdued under the intense sun, she says. Yet the hues were rich and beautiful. “The desert in southern Arizona is very meditative,” she says. “When I take a hike along the desert trails and I hear the sound of gravel under my shoes, the repetitive sounds are like breathing in and breathing out, like a meditation itself.”
For this show, Aukon also returns to subject matter she finds challenging but had let lapse for awhile—flowers. For her florals, such as UNTIL THE NIGHT IS OVER, she worked diligently to make every brush stroke deliberate so that the color is clean and saturated, she says.
Gallery co-owner Paul Eubanks says there is a lot of excitement and anticipation building among clients and fans who are looking forward to seeing Aukon’s recent paintings. “Larisa looks to be on the path to yet another breakthrough—pushing composition and palette into the next chapter of an already evocative body of work,” Eubanks says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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