Urban Abstracts
Lawrence Hultberg

July 18th, 2019 - August 31st, 2019


ARTSPACE at Untitled is excited to debut the digital artworks produced from the original photography of Lawrence Leif Hultberg. A skilled American photographer and abstract painter born in 1953, Hultberg’s parents were artists active in the emerging New York School of Art that fostered some of the most notable and celebrated artists of the twentieth century. Though he was not classically trained and considers himself self-taught, Hultberg feels he greatly benefited from his surroundings and exposure to a wide range of contemporary influences with the world of Modern Art.

Urban Abstracts is a series of digital artworks produced from Lawrence Hultberg’s original photography taken in and around urban settings. The exhibition is composed of two series he has been working on simultaneously called Urban Abstracts and Municipal Mandalas. Though at first glance they may appear to be two distinct bodies of work, upon closer inspection one may discover the symbolic thread that binds the two together. 

Patterns, textures and geometric shapes are found everywhere, particularly within an urban environment. With his Urban Abstracts, the artist captures the details and abstract geometries of otherwise mundane urban artifacts and treats them as fine art compositions. The rust of an automobile, the patterns found on a manhole cover, the peeling paint of a weathered wall or the ubiquitous street lines painted onto asphalt are graphically transformed when taken out of context and composed in such a way as the artist has. These images take on new dimensions reminiscent of modern art from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s; including abstract expressionism, constructivism and op art.

The artist’s Municipal Mandalas were also produced using original photographs taken in urban areas. These photographs were then digitally manipulated to bring out their otherwise hidden geometries. The resulting kaleidoscopic patterns were created through the process of folding the images into themselves like origami. The fractal nature of the material world that would otherwise remain hidden below the surface is revealed, often with surprising results.

In the artist’s own words, “Mandalas are traditionally a cosmic diagram used as a visual aid and a spiritual tool for quieting the mind, awakening and centering oneself. They can have an appealing and soothing effect that draws the viewer in. Perhaps my attraction to producing these pleasing symmetrical images from the photographs I take is my way of reordering and making sense of the perceived chaos that surrounds us. An attempt to bring greater balance to the dichotomies we face, stimulating my own healing process through a focus on the fractal nature within matter seeking to express its hidden beauty.”

ARTSPACE at Untitled is fortunate to display Urban Abstracts by Lawrence Hultberg, an exhibition which has also been curated by the artist. The skill with which he composes fine art compositions in his photographic work is apparent and inspires the viewer to find beauty and composition within the mundane.