A painting of a small found black and white photograph of a funerary wreath. "I chose to paint from anonymous found snapshots of gravesides as I had gathered a number of them and was curious to know how the feel of my work would change if I took on the relationship between painting, photography and death in a more direct way. It seemed odd to me to take photographs of gravesides and I wanted to investigate why these images intrigued me so much. I was drawn to the idea of a lack of a central figure, and how the monochrome nature of the paintings would relate to my interest in the push and pull between figuration and abstraction. These paintings are an attempt to investigate the relationship between photography and death in a direct way - Roland Barthes quotes: 'he is dead and he is going to die' referring to a photograph of a prisoner about to be hanged and the idea that a photograph holds the subject in suspension, forever alive, and yet as a viewer with hindsight we know that that subject has since died. In my previous work my concern was with the idea that the painting process could somehow resurrect forgotten subjects whilst also dealing with the dead matter of paint becoming alive at the same time. Reinvigorating these 'dead' photos with life and movement whilst at the same time acknowledging their own failure as effective aide-mémoire. With these graveside works the failure of the photograph to accurately re-invoke the person is central and the headstone becomes symbolic of this failure. The headstone will probably outlast the photograph, whereas the photographs that I have collected outlast their subjects. Both the photograph and the headstone are emotive points of contact for those out of reach, yet they are equally flawed, as is a painting. In both of these series the paintings are not figurative, but are a kind of portrait. The usual central figure is replaced by a monument to a person leaving the feeling of a presence twice removed. For me this sense of absence highlights our human need to be remembered and our fear of being forgotten. Perhaps these graveside photos are also symbols for something unreachable, unknowable and abstract."
Laura Lancaster, 2013
Laura Lancaster 'Conversations Behind Glass' Workplace, Gateshead, UK, 2 February - 9 March 2013
Laura Lancaster, Wooson Gallery, Deagu, Korea, Apr 10th – May 18th 2014
Laura Lancaster, Priestman Gallery, Sunderland, 23 January - 24 February 2017
Critic's Picks: Laura Lancaster - Workplace London Author: John - Paul Stonard ARTFORUM March 27 2014