Paul Laffoley: Portaling

March 10 – April 21, 2001


Kent Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition entitled Portaling comprised of seven paintings by Paul Laffoley, founder of the Boston Visionary Cell (1971). The works included will span Laffoley’s entire career, beginning with Alice Pleasance Lidell (1968), to his most recent painting entitled The World Soul of Plotinus (1998 - 2001). This will be Laffoley’s first exhibition since his recent retrospective and new monograph organized by the Austin Museum of Art (1999 - 2000).

For Laffoley, "portaling" is characterized as the exchange between present knowledge with the possibilities of the future. In this sense, the portal is explored as a moment of insight. Each of the seven painting included in the exhibition articulates a portal indicating utopian possibilities, extrapolating upon the present to foresee what can only be imagined:


Alice Pleasance Liddell the possibilities of childhood imagination

The Omega Point the future of evolution

The Visionary Point the connection between that which has no history and that which has only history

Utopia: The Suspension between the Possible and the Impossible the dynamics of a utopian community

Cosmolux the portal of cosmic space

Black White Hole cosmology and a new world view

The World Soul of Plotinus travel between two and three-dimensional forms


Portaling is explored in both the form and content of Laffoley’s work. Laffoley approaches his work as the translation of pure knowledge into physical realization. His paintings act as doorways to possible realities - representation of what has yet to exist or occur. Each painting involves the viewer in a rapturous moment, where the forms of each canvas equal the imaginative power of its theoretical subject.

To create his complex works, the artist draws upon a staggering range of literature from the popular to the arcane - works in such disciplines as art history, history, physics, science fiction, classical literature, architecture, and such occult sciences as parapsychology and theosophy. Each painting is diligently researched, taking one to three years to complete. Laffoley’s approach is truly transdisciplinary, disregarding barriers between art and science, engineering and painting.

Laffoley was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1940. After being dismissed from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Laffoley apprenticed with the sculptor Mirko Baseldella, before working with the visionary architect Frederick Kiesler. In 1971, he formed the Boston Visionary Cell, an institution dedicated to the practice of visionary art and philosophy. In 1990, he became a registered architect. He has participated in over two hundred exhibitions, both national and international.

Gallery hours are Tuesday thru Saturday from noon to six. For further information please contact Pepper Stetler.