Lance Letscher’s collages are accumulations of tiny bits of paper taken from a myriad of sources. His compositions, driven by a piecemeal aesthetic with a meticulously obsessive sensitivity to color and content, evoke both the expansiveness of the cosmos and the complex detail of microcellular life forms. Crafted with a rich and vibrant vocabulary eliciting discovery by his viewers, Letscher’s works engage us with their poetry and intricacy.
Since the late 1980’s, Letscher has used the raw materials of wood, marble, old books and paper in such a manner as to remove them from their original context. As a youth, he cleaned out vacated rental properties owned by his grandparents and developed a curious habit of imagining other people’s lives from the traces left behind. Trained as a printmaker, Letscher’s early career focused on intensely conceptual sculptures of marble or wood: a doll-sized marble wheelchair, a dwarfed piano of wood, a rumpled child’s pillow in marble. In the mid-1990s Letscher shifted from his conceptual sculptures towards paper and collage but took away from his experience as a sculptor incredible patience and ability to focus on labor-intensive compositions. He began to collect antique paper, ledgers, old notebooks, diaries, letters, record covers, magazines and books from thrift stores, junk-shops, used-booksellers, and even dumpsters.
He meticulously organizes and stores these weathered materials, which he later surgically deconstructs and deploys, creating new narratives from shards of a memory. Letscher’s geometric and contemplative juxtapositions of color and pattern call to mind the classic craft of quilt making, which he has cited as an influence. Other frequent comparisons are to a wide and varied roster of other artists: Josef Albers, Piet Mondrian, James Castle, and Martín Ramírez, among others. Letscher’s most recent works explore notions of locomotion, technology, and the creative impulse at the heart of human nature. Letscher re-visits his sculptural roots as his collages leap into three dimensions, using vibrant colors and letters to cover the surfaces of such varied subjects as guns, motorcycles, rockets, tools and toy planes. A diligent and nearly constant worker, Letscher follows, with enthusiasm and gratitude, wherever his source materials lead him.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Lance Letscher attended the University of Texas where he received both his Bachelor of Fine Arts and his Master of Fine Arts. He later apprenticed for Amado Peña, an artist known for his Southwestern-style prints. He currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. His work is held in public and private collections around the country and has been reviewed in Art in America, The New York Observer, and Harper’s Magazine, among other publications. A full-length monograph of his work, Lance Letscher: Collage, was published in 2009.