The Narration of Light






The Gracis gallery of Milan and the Photo&Contemporary gallery of Turin are pleased to announce Emil Lukas: The Narration of Light, the new solo exhibition of the artist, Emil Lukas (Pittsburgh, 1964), which will be taking place in both of the galleries in Autumn 2022.

Lukas’ abstract language is diverse and complex. Well-known for his experimentation with a wide range of elements, the artist uses a broad spectrum of techniques and materials, from canvas to plaster and from wood to pieces of refuse. Speaking about his process, Lukas states: “I’m interested in the ideas of exploring simple yet abundant and accessible processes that possess an immense visual potential.  My hope is to accumulate these actions into a more fulfilling and complex event of observing art“.

In his Thread paintings, thousands of threads are pulled over a frame, achieving magnificent light effects as well as degrees of chromatic gradation.  The works are called “paintings” but they are created in such a way cannot be adequately catalogued as sculpture or painting three-dimensional works made up of differing and overlapping layers whose internal and external parts, surfaces and supports, lose their hierarchical distinction and assume a consistency of equal importance. In another body of work, Lukas collaborates with fly larvae to create paintings of depth with a non-human intention. To produce each painting, the artist releases larvae across the surface, creating random lines as the larvae interacts with paint and ink. Lukas establishes the context; however, it is the larvae’s movement that produces the marks – the traces of nature, the abstract remains of passage. Lukas’ hard edged bubble paintings also spin in the viewer’s perception—cast from sheets of bubble wrap, the back of each work is flat like a traditional canvas while the front physically and pictorially bulges from the impression of the bubbles.

In Lukas’ work, single yet subtle variations as well as meticulous attention are able to produce a whole host of perceptive challenges. A multitude of colours, threads, angles and lines may be seen when these works are examined up-close. From a distance, however, each and every work is dissolved into a symmetrical composition which suggests a mathematical process guided by a set of rigid geometric patterns. Consequently, what the eye grasps after an initial glance is merely only one of the facets that the work conceals after a longer and more attentive vision. The artist works upon the mechanisms of perception, thus accumulating signs, elements and materials which, although of a certain intrinsic abundance, tend to dissolve their very structure into something lighter, celestial and spiritual. Lukas’ distinctive use of daily organic materials, such as thread, plaster, larvae, and water soluble paints, as well as his innovative techniques, all contribute towards the creation of intricate works that involve the spectator in both an intimate and a contemplative way. In his works, Lukas juxtaposes patterns and situations of variation, expansion and in doing so, he reflects the Nature and the Beauty that grow out of chaos and daily life. His language fuses together action with thought. His work is the process through which the actual work itself finds accomplishment.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1964, Emil Lukas has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad. Solo museum shows include “Emil Lukas: Connection to the Curious” at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT (2005); “Emil Lukas” at The Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC (2005); “Things with Wings,” The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA (2005); and “Moderate Climate and the Bitter Bison” at the Hunterdon Museum, Hunterdon, NJ (2008). In 2016, a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Lukas’ work has been featured in group shows at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1995), Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (1996); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (1998); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (1999); American Academy, Rome (2000); The Drawing Center, New York (2002); and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah (2012-13). His work is in important private and public collections, including the Panza Collection, Italy; the Dakis Joannou Collection, Greece; Margulies Collection, Miami; Allentown Art Museum, PA; the Anderson Collection at Stanford University; Baltimore Museum of Art; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; San José Museum of Art; UBS Art Collection; and Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC.

Milan, Galleria Gracis (piazza Castello 16)

September 20 – October 20 2022

Galleria Gracis opening hours:

Monday-Friday, 10AM-1PM | 2-6PM

Free entrance

Opening: September 20, 6PM

Informations: tel. +39 02 877 807; gracis@gracis.com