‘From the start Lozano’s art was wild. After her classical training at the Art Institute she began producing paintings that mixed the frenetic brushwork of many Abstract Expressionists with cartoonish, sexually freighted imagery. Many peers, including Hollis Frampton, Sol Lewitt and Carl Andre, were drawn to both her work and her personality. ‘Lee was brilliant as an artist and a person,’ Mr. Andre recalled in a recent e-mail, ‘and utterly unique as both’’ (D. Spears, ‘Lee Lozano, Surely Defiant, Drops In’, in The New York Times, 5 January 2011).
A radical and intransigent rebel, Lee Lozano inextricably fused artistic output and lived experience, pioneering the practice of life-as-art. Art critic Lucy Lippard described her as ‘the major female figure in New York in the 1960s’, and for the duration of a decade, Lozano dominated the city’s avant-garde scene, drawing and painting furiously, filling diaries with conceptual pieces and documentation of performances (L. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of Art, Los Angeles 1997, p. xii). By 1969, however, she had set her sights on her most nihilistic goal yet - creating General Strike Piece, during which she documented herself methodically cutting off contact with the art world. This was shortly followed by Drop Out Piece (1969-71), when Lozano renounced New York and left for Dallas, frustrating her growing success and embracing self-imposed exile.
Created during her decade in New York, Untitled (1962) is executed in Lozano’s characteristically brusque punk style. Sharp black line and violently-hatched colour meld to create an Expressionistic cartoonish style, in which figuration and abstraction clash and jostle. From the confusion, anthropomorphized and suggestively distorted symbols emerge, confronting each other and intimating sexuality and violence. Untitled showcases Lozano’s interest in provocation and power, her punning humour, her unconscious paranoia – all of which would define her artistic practice and culminate in her ascetic withdrawal from art.