Israel Lund

Photograph by Amanda Hakan.

To say that Israel Lund makes paintings of nothing is both an oversimplification and technically true. When the 33-year-old Brooklyn artist began producing the ghostly abstractions that earned him a sudden following last year, he was simply pushing ink through a screen onto raw canvas. “With silk-screening, you’re usually trying to transfer a specific image,” Lund explains. “But I bent that convention by just letting the amount of ink, pressure, and size of the squeegee I used determine what the painting looked like. There’s a little control—but a lot of chance.” It was context—not content—that interested him most. Preparing for a solo show at Elaine Levy Project in Brussels last fall, he noticed that the gallery’s interior columns would obscure views of his work from across the room. His response: to base the paintings on a photograph of Daniel Buren’s work with graphic white stripes. “I wanted to mimic that sense of disturbance.” Recently, Lund has been more deliberate in his inspirations, referencing Martin Kippenberger’s doodles on one painting. Working off such sources, says Lund, whose next exhibition runs June 10 through July 29 at David Lewis Gallery in New York, reminds him of his image-hoarding youth, when silk-screening T-shirts was de rigueur for punk rock–obsessed skate kids. “It’s like when I was cutting out stuff that I liked to make zines and posters—that part feels familiar.”