Saturday, September 05, 2009

Rachel Lancaster: Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

Rachel Lancaster

5th September - 3rd October

Tues - Sat, 11am -5pm

(or by appointment)

Preview: Friday 4th September, 6-9pm.

Workplace Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of work by Rachel Lancaster.

Rachel Lancaster's recent practice has focused on taking numerous photographic 'stills' from found moving imagery, which are then translated into paintings and drawings. Taken from her home television set with a digital camera whilst watching popular movies and TV (such as Madmen, The Horror Channel or The Thing) Lancaster uses the process of photography as a filter through which images are selected and seen afresh, dissociated from their origin. The 'cult' film and television images that Lancaster captures evade the typical themes with which these movies are associated. Instead Lancaster is drawn to seemingly insignificant passing shots, extreme close-ups of inanimate objects, and commonplace domestic interiors.

Lancaster interrogates the mundane fragments of a greater narrative, focusing on the split second moments that are in-between – an empty chair in a room from Network, a chequered blanket from Chinatown or a bed from The Day of the Triffids. These apparently disparate source materials are brought together and unified through scale and isolation. The resulting, often blurred or pixelated, photographs are then used as the source material for a series of oil paintings. Mediated by the poor resolution of affordable technology and divorced physically from their position within a narrative structure these paintings become abstract and ambiguous. Yet instead of diminishing their meaning, Lancaster's fetishisation of these images enables them to accrue status and power whilst signifying the unknown "event! that precedes or follows. In this way Lancaster!s work is 'Uncanny' through: the psychological charge of the selected image compounded by its cinematic monumentality, the reproduction or 'doubling' of an image in common cultural parlance, and in the subliminal evocations dependant on our familiarity with the language and conventions of Hollywood.

This exhibition at Workplace Gallery will consist of a new series of epic - scale oil paintings shown alongside a selection of her photographic source material, and a new sound installation by Lancaster.

Rachel Lancaster was born in Hartlepool in 1979; she studied Fine Art at Northumbria University, and lives and works in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. She is an artist and musician and an active participant in the growing and increasingly acclaimed North East England music scene. Rachel regularly performs as a solo artist, and alongside her twin sister Laura Lancaster (also represented by Workplace Gallery), and drummer Narbi Price in the band Chippewa Falls, and with Paul Smith (from Maximo Park) in the band Meandthetwins.