Lawrence Fodor

Lawrence Fodor was born in 1951 in Los Angeles and started painting at an early age. He studied painting, printmaking, photography, architecture and art history at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, received a BFA majoring in printmaking and art history and completed graduate work in painting at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. His extensive world travels include trekking in the Himalayas, studying in great and obscure museums in Europe, South America and the United States, driving excursions to Paleolithic and Druid sites in France and England, camping at prehistoric sites in North America, visiting National Parks on a regular basis, surfing the Pacific Ocean in Costa Rica and Baja, Mexico and trekking glaciers in Argentina.

Fodor currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California and Santa Fe, New Mexico, but has had studios in Orange County, Long Beach and Santa Barbara, California.

In the past 25 years Fodor’s paintings can be described as nature based non-objective abstractions diversely informed by his personal history and memory, the indelible marks of his travels, Zen Buddhism and divergent historical and contemporary references such as Greek and Roman Classicism, the Renaissance, Post-Impressionism, British Romantic Landscapes, the Hudson River School, German Post-Expressionism and the California Light and Space Movement.  Various bodies of work are known for their quiet and meditative aspects, atypical color relationships, exuberant texture from multiple layers of paint, refined spatial configurations and intuitive application of paint. His most recent body of work appropriates historic works of art, generally Greco-Roman and Renaissance figurative sculpture and painting that reference mythic themes. A drawn/painted version of a specific historic work of art functions as the foundation and anchor to which the artist then obscures, obliterates and re-contextualizes the work in both a literal and conceptual manner. While existing in a current and relevant idiom, his paintings simultaneously celebrate, honor and pay tribute to the continuum and persistence of 30,000 years of painting.

Fodor always has had and used cameras, but focused professionally on printmaking and painting, until a number of years ago when he acquired a Canon 5D Mark III. Finding his voice in photography has been a similar journey to painting, one that encompasses continual refinement and discovery. Forty years of printmaking, painting and addressing the formal considerations of composition – color, line, shape, form, dynamics and tension directly translates to photography, thereby enabling him to prioritize “vision.” Working with cameras, Fodor says, “I know what want to find looking through the view finder. Do I always see it? Not necessarily, but I’m compelled and persistent.” His work concerns itself with finding a human “unseen presence” in the landscape, prehistoric ruins and abandoned or ruined architectural structures in cities.

Fodor feels that ultimately photography is about light and directly parallel to painting – although he believes that while photography’s concerns are a single or extended moment, painting addresses multiple moments coalescing. He has an old-school chiaroscuro sensibility/aesthetic and there is a direct correlation between how he processes a photograph and how he approaches the formal elements of painting: light/dark, warm/cool, push/pull, dynamic range, cadence, rhythm, spatial tensions, focus, point, line, plane – all are critical.

Fodor’s paintings are exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States and he has received favorable reviews in Art News, Art in America and numerous regional publications.  He was a recipient of the City of Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (2014) and his proposal for the exhibition Cumulous Skies; the Enduring Modernist Aesthetic in New Mexico received NEA funding for the City of Santa Fe’s Arts Commission to produce the exhibition (2013). His paintings have been included in the publication and exhibition, Speak for the Trees, (2010) and have been the subject of two catalogues to accompany exhibitions at the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California (Holding Light, 2012) and the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico (Kôan Boxes, 2009). Fodor’s work is in numerous private, corporate and public collections, most notably the Lannan Foundation Collection and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Laguna Art Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Lannan Foundation.

Fodor’s photographs are in the collection of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives at the New Mexico History Museum and are the subject of a number of books: Chaco Canyon: wandering the past in the present, 2015, Apparatus: in a painting studio, 2014 and the forthcoming Bridge Breaking: a narrative on the 6th street viaduct demolition.