Friday, March 11, 2011

Lauren's Write Crit!

Lauren has chosen to display her new body of work consisting of prints and drawings of portraits on the walls of the east installation room. Upon entering the room, five of the nine pieces are placed on the middle wall in a row, relatively small rectangular drawings and prints of female portraits on uniformly white paper. The uniformity in size and color can be related to the yearbook photo reference in her work. The three of the pieces are line drawings done in gauche or black water color on top a gray background, layered with text in acrylic or watercolor. The other two pieces are done from a pronto plate; white and gold acrylic paint over one of the images while the last one is just a print from a different plate. It’s significant to note that the only color, other than black, white or gray, is the gold paint used in the second portrait from the left. From right to left starting with the first portrait the texts read; “what’s your name baby girl,” “hey hot stuff,” “smile,” “hey you got a husband” and the last image is without text. On the adjacent wall are the second set of prints, four larger prints; three are of one etching and one landscape, all also layered with text. The etchings are also of a portrait, I assume it’s a self portrait. The first image is the print of the etching with the text “you seem like you would have done anal”. The landscape image is of a road and a hill with a sign that reads “you’re such a skank” done in acrylic, ink and charcoal on rice paper pasted on white paper with text that’s hard to make out but I assume it says “on my boo I can see parts of her I do not need to be seeing.” The last two pieces are both printed on rice paper which creates a translucency of the printed image when its pasted onto a more opaque surface like the last piece that’s on white paper with a sketch and the text “I see a lot of myself in you” underneath it. The second to last image has the text “a little soft” written on a card that’s pasted between the two pieces of Japanese paper. The images are on separate walls because I don’t see them as being directly related in one body of work but similar in the way that they both are biographical and dealing with identity, play between text and image, and layering.

Because I see Lauren’s work being very biographical and about trying to interpret her own identity, it’s hard for the viewer to relate their self to the work specifically. This might not be so much the case if the viewer wasn’t aware of the several self portrait pieces of Lauren. Compared to Lauren’s previous work at midterm, I feel that she’s going for a different body of work but one that’s more related to what she proposed to do last semester, dealing with identity, self, and narrative. Although her previous work on the prints of her black male friends at midterm, which dealt more with race and prejudice, still echo through her current body of work because the portraiture, orientation, and line quality are the still similar.

A lot of Lauren’s previous work also deals with pieces that are layered upon with multiple prints, drawings, or text. I see this as Lauren not only building up texture but also context. While her line drawings themselves are expressive in their own way because of her use of line but the images become more successful because she uses layer to build up an image. For example the four images on the right wall; the over wiped or ghost print of the etching on Japanese paper that’s adhered to another sheet of paper emphasizes the translucency of the print and allows the text to be seen. Specifically for the three pieces on the right, I don’t think they would have been as successful if everything would have been done on one sheet of paper. The first image on the right exemplifies that because the etching seems flat compared to the other pieces, I feel like she can go back into it and work it a little more. But in the case for the five images on the adjacent wall, Lauren uses several types of medium to create dimension and complexity within each peace although everything is contained on one piece of paper.

I think it’s important to note the words seem to be just as important to the piece as the line drawings are. Lauren specifically chooses the text to relate to the certain images, as to the drawing and text begin to form their own conversation. Although both components are vital to the piece as a whole, the text in each piece seems to be more of a response to the image rather than the image responding to that selection of text. The way Lauren draws or writes the text over the imagery seems almost graffiti like, or similar to how many of us would write over other kids’ school pictures in the year book. The text also ties the piece to a specific point in time that was possibly once important or relevant to Lauren. So the portrait just isn’t a portrait of a girl, but the text somehow emphasizes the images relevance to the artist Lauren’s choice of text for each image seem to be insulting or derogatory, like cat-calls towards women. Most of it comes off as being sexist towards women, as in the text seems to be coming from a male voice rather than a female voice and then being echoed in the portrayed figure’s head. None of them are positive, or at least the imagery reaffirms that none of them are intended to be positive. I feel like the body of work might be commenting on a negative self image or how Lauren might interpret the self image of others.

An artist that has made similar work, in the way that she combines imagery and text along with feminist themes would be Barbara Kruger. I know Lauren even mentioned her, but the connection is almost inevitable. Both works are similar in the way that the text is a response to the image and the lacking of color. Kruger’s work doesn’t seem as autobiographical but she tends to use text to comment on the image of society as Lauren uses text to comment on the images of specific girls or herself.

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