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. 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—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 to make the paintings, Lancaster was struck by the movement of the cameraman and the way in which the viewer is placed in the position of recording while watching, adding an element of voyeurism to her process. Inhabiting her paintings is 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 paintings in turn become portraits of film itself as well, committing a fleeting moment to posterity, no doubt beyond what the original subjects ever imagined. 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.
Laura Lancaster (b.1979) lives and works in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. Lancaster has exhibited at Workplace Gallery, London, UK; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Musee d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, FR; York Art Gallery, UK; Palazzo Dell’ Arte Napoli, IT; Museum of Modern Art Oxford, UK; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include: Musee d'art Moderne St Etienne, France and New Art Gallery Walsall, UK in 2015. In May 2014 her exhibition at Workplace Gallery, London, UK was reviewed in ARTFORUM. Lancaster currently has a solo presentation at Art Basel Hong Kong (Discoveries) with Workplace Gallery.
Laura Lancaster is in numerous private and public collections including the British Council Collection, UK; New Art Gallery Walsall, UK; The Government Art Collection, UK; UBS Bank Collection, New York, NY; Ernst & Young Collection, New York, NY; The Hort Collection, NY; The Cartin Collection, CT; and The Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK.