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Jim Lutes

Born 1955 in Fort Lewis, Washington
Lives and works in Chicago, Illinois

Jim Lutes integrates representation and abstraction through his use of images and lyrical marks in the same pictorial space. In some works, Lutes employs egg tempera—a classical medium not often used in contemporary art—which allows for a great level of fluidity, depth, and luminosity. Lutes’s work references his interest in the material qualities of paint and a narrative that blurs present and past. For example, Piece of Barbara, on view on the Museum’s second floor, takes its figurative image from a publicity still of Barbara Payton, a 1950s B-movie actress whose career was overshadowed by a tumultuous personal life and premature death. According to Lutes, to paint a likeness is to “paint in opposition to the form, which is both the failure and pleasure of painting.” By incorporating freely applied gestures with Payton’s portrait, the idea of representation—or the reality of any image—is thrown into question.

Read about the artist

Jim Lutes at Valerie Carberry Gallery
NewCity (November 2009)

Jim Lutes at the Renaissance Society
Artforum (January 2009; note: registration required)

Jim Lutes at the Renaissance Society
Time Out Chicago (January 2009)

Jim Lutes’ Visual Rants, Laddie John Dill’s Monumental Materialism
LA Weekly (May 2008)