Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present “A Stranger’s Dream”, the first New York solo show of English painter Laura Lancaster. The exhibition will open on Friday, March 20th, from 6-8PM and be on view until Sunday, April 19th, 2015.
Lancaster's work is extracted from an archive of anonymous thrift store and flea market photographs. In these new paintings, Lancaster has used found home movie reels of super 8 film, the first time that moving images have been incorporated into her work. Each work is a captured one-second frame, chosen from hundreds of films Lancaster viewed and then reviewed to render in either a domestic or cinematic size.
The exhibition title “A Stranger’s Dream” refers to the way in which film can echo the fragmented sequences of dreams and memories, allowing the stills to take on a surreal, uncanny quality despite being pulled from a potentially mundane document of reality. Lancaster’s work hovers between abstraction and figuration, allowing the literal reality of the film’s imperfections to appear as a record. Borders, holes and lines interrupt the pictoral plane, becoming as much as a subject as the hazy figures and landscapes captured in the original reel. With no context of space and time her subjects are able to occupy a place of collective memory, seeming distantly familiar even as they are completely mysterious. When watching the films, Lancaster was struck by the movement of the camera and the way in which the viewer is placed in the position of recording while watching, adding an element of voyeurism to her process. We have the sense that we are inside the viewpoint of another—a ghost’s vision selecting the scene. The paintings are portraits of the figures depicted, but also of the moment itself and how the film’s physical presence intrudes on the image it is trying to record. The work in turn becomes portraits of the film itself, committing a fleeting moment to posterity and embracing the accumulation of errors. By elevating these minor minutes into paintings, Lancaster captures the longing to transcend the present, even as we are still looking to the past to offer answers.