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For the past 13 years, my work has built a steady foundation for me to catapult off of and into my deepest, most cohesive series yet. After being told that I cannot use contrast—a theory of philosophy—as an idea in my work because it is deemed a technique, I launched into fervency to prove that juror wrong. While I use a variety of materials and processes in each piece, my methodology is consistent. I found I am able to further explore the philosophy of contrast and how it relates to my reality through learned traits of the mediums, freedom of mistakes, and self-expression.
My work process is a combination of medium(s), method, markings, erasures, and/or words used to satisfy the tension I feel existing in reality. I live in dichotomies while feeling the stress of being an extreme empath. To find another temporary place of existence, I create works of art that soothe the itchiness I experience, creating the hope of an interim alternative reality.
Throughout my most recent completed series, CON TRAST I depict the journey and struggle of pulling oneself out of the world’s darkest pond: depression. This is shown through erratic brush strokes, paintings void of color, images from insomnia, and identifying the places of comfort I found in my work. When the paintings, installations, and sculptures from this series are experienced together, one follows the stress and desire to find a more comfortable, calm reality, while fighting horrible distress. Depression is the contrast to happiness and without that dichotomy, we would not know either.
The first few pieces of the series are basic and infantile in nature, searching for how to use one’s tools to achieve a goal. It matures into freely exploring a wide range of depth through impasto and erratic brush strokes, creating a visual diary of which all can relate. Playing with techniques such as composition, texture, and form, I allow the process to become the most important part of the work.The paintings peak at the breaking point of one’s self, caged in their own woes of self-destruction. The final works portray a beacon of light brought on by friends. I chose to have circles represent those friends, relationships, and pieces of hope.
This series is not about myself. Its purpose is to spark awareness regarding the importance of contrast as a theorem, and how one can use it to find contentment. I have no grand illusions that the art this series will be understood simply through the details stated above. I hope witnesses walk away feeling struggle and harmony, the importance of experiencing both, and finally, I invite viewers to indulge in contrast—as more than a technique.
I ATTENDED SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY IN GEORGETOWN TEXAS WITH A DEGREE IN ECONOMICS AND MINOR IN STUDIO ART. BLACKS AND GREYS ARE MY DAILY WEAR AND CONTINUE TO PONDER LIFE’S DICHOTOMIES. I LIVE IN...NEAR AUSTIN...WITH MY SPORTS-INCLINED HUSBAND, TWO CATS, AND TWO DOGS. I AM OPEN TO COMMISSIONS, I WILL PAINT YOUR LOGO ON SOMETHING, AND GIVE THE BEST HUGS.
2011 Lauren McPhail: Old and New, Dynamic Bodyworks, Austin Texas
2011 Sparkle Horse, Quacks Bakery, Austin Texas
2010 When Colors Reveal the World, Dominican Joe's, Austin Texas
2008 Senior Show, The Sarofim Fine Arts Building, Georgetown Texas
East Austin Studio Tour, EAST
2009, 2010, 2011 E.A.S.T., Art Post, Austin Texas
2015 E.A.S.T.,Abby Mandel Burnham Studio, Austin Texas
2016 E.A.S.T., Cement Loop, Austin Texas
Cianfrani’s Coffee Shop, Georgetown Texas, Big Art Show, The Parlor, Austin Texas, Austin Art Garage, Austin Texas