Through the Kaleidoscope- BFA Qualifying Exhibition
Through the Kaleidoscope
In partial fulfillment of the BFA degree in Art
Featuring Artists Lauren Careese Alexander, Jordan Bennett, and Shawn Butler
Lauren Careese Alexander Artist Talk
My work explores the concepts of reality and fiction, and the blurred lines in between. I create art based on my personal memories or dreams and sometimes, a mixture of both. My intention is to create a positive emotive response for the viewer which combines a new, dreamlike world with a familiar sense of nostalgia.
Our memories become distorted as we age, so our brain tries to fill in any gaps. This makes it hard to distinguish what really happened and what is just a fabrication created by our cognitive or emotional reaction. I utilize bright colors and cheerful imagery that will provoke happiness, but there is also a sense of longing that accompanies the feeling.
I typically choose to use clouds because to me they symbolize the feelings of homesickness I experience when I am separated from and am longing for my family. Growing up in Texas, where the land is vast and expansive, the clouds serve as a constant part of the landscape that I know as home.
My ceramic work pairs the ephemeral nature of clouds with imagery of more tangible objects which come from my memories and dreams. For instance, I am portraying imagery found on the land in some capacity such as abstracted topographical maps, paired with an element we attribute to the sky; that being the cloud form, and then I explore the role that our existence takes between the two. In certain pieces, I investigate that space between sky and ground by inserting an element of negative space to act as a direct signifier for us- and how we occupy that space between. Other times, I choose more specific imagery to be arranged on a cloud such as plant-life, animals, or everyday objects, for a more fantastical feeling that still represents a human existence that lies between earth and sky.
Something I have also found to be evident in my body of work, no matter the medium, is my use of windows and how they allow for someone to view my thoughts and experiences as an outsider. My ceramic work is a metaphorical, naturally occurring window that provides the viewer with an otherworldly environment that they are not directly involved in but are invited to experience from an outside perspective. On the other hand, my paintings directly incorporate a fake window frame and an open view into an abstracted environment that does not exist on this physical planet, but rather is born from an interpretation of experiences that happen in the real world. I also incorporate elements closer to the viewer, to further encourage the chance to join me in my memories and dreams. This also pushes my themes of longing, as I tend to associate looking out of a window with the feeling of longing to be elsewhere, longing to be home.
When it comes to home and family, I also think of music. It is something I feel I cannot exist without. My father is a music producer, and his studio has largely been in our home; so growing up, I was constantly surrounded by music and by noise. I find myself struggling to do anything without sound. For example, I can’t even sleep without constant white noise let alone create art without it. To me, my art has always gone hand in hand with music and how that music triggers memories or inspires dreams or blurs the lines in between. In this exhibition, I am extending an invitation to the viewer to join me in this experience by providing links to a corresponding song, produced by my father, Maurice Alexander, that adds to the overall atmosphere of the work.
My work is a celebration of the wistful desires of the heart and extends an opportunity to the viewer for a magical reminiscence. It is a commemoration of a contented or delightful dream that we can’t quite remember or of a memory that has long since passed. It is within our environment of existence that we make connections and memories, have dreams, live, and die.
Through the Kaleidoscope located at the FAC Gallery at the University of Texas at Tyler from November 2021-December 2021