Tampa Museum of Art

Mernet Larsen: Getting Measured, 1957-2017

Mernet Larsen (American, b. 1940), Raft, 2017. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York.

The Tampa Museum of Art will present a survey of paintings and works on paper by artist Mernet Larsen (American, b. 1940). A long-time resident of Tampa and former Professor of Painting at the University of South Florida, Larsen is one of the region’s most prodigious artists. Her work alludes to a range of art historical references, from 13th-century Japanese scrolls, 15th-century Italian painting, to the geometric abstractions of Russian artist El Lissitzky (1980-1941). Her early abstract compositions, such Duccio’s Saint (1988) in the Tampa Museum of Art’s collection, reflect her ongoing formal explorations of experiential time, space, and color. Later figurative paintings, including the recent work Raft (2017), depict ordinary moments and activities—from reading in bed, attending casual dinners, to participating in faculty meetings. Yet, it is her unusual perspective and linear approach to figuration that render Larsen’s unique and genuine reflections of everyday life. The exhibition Mernet Larsen will feature never-before-seen early drawings from her student days, a select group of studies and works on paper, and a survey of paintings from the 1960s to the present.