Lauren Collings, Places, Vessels, & Other Things


The Gallery AT 1GAP, Richard Meier 'On Prospect Park'

Lauren Collings finds joy in the average, the extremely quotidian; nothing is too mundane a subject for one of her paintings. She is attuned to the subtleties of her environment, like the direction the grass is mowed, or the back of a stranger’s head reflected in the metallic red of an SUV. Her peculiar American gaze depicts a textile pattern on a bathing suit, a snapshot of a California vacation, or an office interior, with near romantic reverence. Her framing of people, places, and objects, seems to emanate from a digital memory, say from the chip of an iPhone or a mediated human subconscious. Frontal and flat, her images download easily to canvas. 

While Collings makes a record of contemporary life, she flirts with bygone Modernist moments, a methodology that provides the structure for her paintings. Valuing personal experience as she does, necessitates working within the traditions of still life, landscape, interior, and portrait. That said, she isn’t faithful to representation, and won’t hesitate to create an image that relies upon color and shape alone. To her, abstraction and representation are anything but polemical, they are simply cards she can play in the game of art. Such dalliances draw the viewer’s attention to style. She dips in and out of 20th century’s greatest hits, borrowing from late Impressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, Pop -- whatever she needs. She’ll dance with Matisse, Leger, Picasso, and Vuillard while maintaining a formal position that is unique to her hand. 

Whatever her subject, disjointed visual cues are puzzle pieces Collings likes to work out. Each of her paintings is an investigation of color, her analyses no more clear than in her reductive watercolors. Here a narrow range of pigments glow on thick white paper like so many fragmentary passages brought together, compiling moments in a day: an uneven pattern of black diamonds, the negative outline of a chair, something purple, terracotta rooftops, hot pink trim on a jogger’s shoes. Her images are plucked from anywhere as she presents the essence of the here and now, as she feels it.

About the Artist

Born in 1981 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Lauren Collings lives and works in Brooklyn. She received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, and an MFA from the New York Studio School in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in New York City at Valentine Gallery, Parallel Art Space, and Norte Maar; and in Philadelphia at Tiger Strikes Asteroid. In 2012 she had a solo exhibition at the Lynchburg College Daura Gallery, Lynchburg Virginia. She was an artist in residence at the BAU Institute in Otranto, Italy in 2013, with stays in Naples and Rome. Last fall she was an artist in residence at the Wassaic Project, in Wassaic, New York.