Workplace London are showing Laura Lancaster’s recent portraits of women, both in silhouette and reflected in mirrors. Comprised of paintings of ‘bad’ and ‘accidental’, pre-digital snapshot photographs collected by the artist. Lancaster purposefully restages these throwaway images as powerful inversions of the male gaze.
In the Shadow series her loose impasto brushwork pushes the figure towards abstraction. The figure and the surrounding scene begins to merge, whilst what remains of the subject stares down the viewer – the features of the face obscured by shadow. In her Mirror series Lancaster draws upon the historical theme of the Vanitas, and references the occult practice of Scrying – staring into a reflective surface in order to induce visions or revelation. In these paintings Lancaster depicts the figures as gazing into the mirror, locked in an ambiguous, unresolved moment of longing.
Laura Lancaster makes paintings from an ongoing archive of photographs and cine film found at thrift stores and flea markets, or bought on ebay. Her work transposes the discarded and forgotten snap-shots of anonymous strangers into an ambiguous and uncanny territory between abstraction and figuration. Divorcing her subjects from their specific context and time, Lancaster renders these images uncanny and strange. Shifting between the sentimental, the grotesque and the monstrous, she relocates them to a place of collective memory and subconscious experience. Lancaster was born in Hartlepool, UK in 1979. She lives and works in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and has shown her work in exhibitions worldwide.