Review: Marie Thibeault’s paintings of dazzling disturbance


No Entropic school of art has announced itself as such, but the concept seems to animate a good deal of drawn and painted work of the past decade or more -- images of intense and unpredictable energy, change and disorder.

Julie Mehretu might be considered a chief practitioner. The speed and unwieldiness of the information age is one clear source for the vocabulary of charged, global fluidity; a post-9/11 tenor of physical and political uncertainty is likely another.

The increasingly volatile collision of nature and culture, in the form of large-scale natural disasters, is yet another catalyst for this type of work. Marie Thibeault, a painter based in L.A., set her last series in the landscape forged by Katrina. Her new paintings, in the lamentably final show at George Lawson, are loosely focused on “Funtown,” a New Jersey amusement park ravaged last fall by Hurricane Sandy.


The paintings are images of motion machines and dynamic motion machines in themselves. Roller coasters and ferris wheels appear, usually fragmented, as central icons within agitated fields of vibrant color. These structures compromised by the storm also serve well as metaphors for the spasmodic rhythm of experience (the coaster) and the cyclical nature of time (the wheel).

Thibeault’s palette swerves from the pungent to the sweet, from riotous to sober. Each of the five large and eight smaller canvases enacts a dazzling disturbance, the rich commotion of the brushstrokes allowing neither eye nor mind a safe, static place to rest.

George Lawson Gallery, 8564 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 837-6900, through June 8. Closed Sunday and Monday.