Show: Untitled (2012). Laura Lancaster.
Tell: “My work is based on anonymous, discarded snapshots of strangers and this painting is from an on-going series of graveside paintings I began earlier this year. This is a small scale painting, oil on linen and the subject is a found photograph of a graveside which I bought on EBay.
“I was drawn to the oddness behind the idea of photographing a grave, as photographs are usually an attempt to capture happier times for posterity. The graveside images felt quite powerful as a starting point for painting.
“My practice is concerned with how photography can evoke subjects of memory, loss and intangibility, as well as the stuff of paint itself and the failure involved in trying to encapsulate the complexity of a photograph in a ‘dumb’ substance like paint, and that space between paint and image. The graveside subject matter allows me to deal with all of this in a very literal way – snapshot photographs are evocative of mortality so I was interested in being literal with the subject.
“It is also interesting that the painting becomes a recreation of a representation of a monument to someone, so this sense of loss/failure is amplified, as the identity of the commemorated person deteriorates with each stage. This slippage between the functions of the image and its failure interests me and how painting and photography are both tied together in this respect.
“It’s always difficult deciding when a painting is finished, and getting that balancing point where the image and the paint are both equally dominant can be a tightrope walk. With this painting I wanted to bring out the abstract nature of the image and allow for a slower ‘reveal’ of the subject matter.”
Info: Laura Lancaster lives and works in Newcastle, UK and is represented by Workplace Gallery, Gateshead. Untitled is on the shortlist for the John Moores Painting Prize 2012.
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