Mernet Larsen

American (b. 1940)

Measuring Itself


Acrylic with mixed media on canvas

Gift of Eric Lang Peterson in honor of Louise Reeves, Registrar


Larsen’s approach to creating this painting involved an element of chance and self-imposed experimentation. She made a “list of ingredients” for the painting, with directives referring to different art styles and techniques. She selected each directive, one at a time, from a paper bag. Retrieving “floor plan,” for instance, would force the artist to reconsider the space of the painting entirely. Larsen built up layers of paint, paper, tracing paper, sheetrock compound, and textured paint, reworking the surface as she selected new directives. Her canvases, she writes, “function as intersections: of forms of behaviors, sensuous awareness, concepts and ideas, history and memory, and the concrete particulars of life. The paintings become indexes of changing modalities of behavior: layering, measuring, gouging, and peeling away previous decisions.”



More works of art in the category: American

96 works of art See all

Other ways to explore the collection