For six weeks during February and March 2015 twin sisters Laura Lancaster and Rachel Lancaster were artists in residence in the former home and studio of artist Elaine De Kooning in East Hampton, New York. For both painters, who currently live and work in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England, the residency provided a unique opportunity to develop a significant new body of work in a historic context. The resulting paintings are presented at Dallas Art Fair for the first time.
Laura Lancasteruntitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 130 x 260 cm (51 1/8 x 102 3/8 in) Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery.
Laura Lancaster's work to date is extracted from an archive of anonymous photographs procured from thrift stores and flea markets. Mediated through painting, her work transposes the forgotten and discarded snap-shots of strangers' lives into an ambiguous territory between abstraction and figuration. Divorcing her subjects from their specific context and time, Lancaster relocates them to a place of collective memory and experience that resonates with our own. Laura Lancaster's work oscillates between the nostalgic sentimentality of the celebratory moment, and the melancholic poignancy of the past.
This new group of paintings is based upon my collection of found anonymous home movies. Incorporating the moving image into the painting process is a significant departure, which provides new areas of exploration into how my work can deal with ideas of the cinematic and the temporal, as well as open up the painting process itself. It allows for a deeper investigation into the mechanics of images, and the way in which the are created and consumed. In all the works, evidence of the film as an object is visible, in the sprocket holes and marks left on the film, referring to its mechanical, functional characteristics. These elements disrupt the coherence of the images highlighting their constructed nature. These devices also force the abstract and the figurative to exist on the same picture plane and allow for this dialogue to take place more overtly within my practice. Laura Lancaster 2015.
Rachel Lancaster untitled, 2015, Oil on canvas, 154 x 183 cm (60 5/8 x 72 1/8 in) Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery.
Rachel Lancaster's new works are derived from her interest in the intersections between Music, Film, and Photography, their respective transitions from analogue to digital.
The images in these paintings are from photographs I've taken directly of the TV screen, mostly stills from 1970's b movies, 1980's horror, obscure, rubbish films on YouTube. Some of the details I've included in the paintings hint at the origin such as the black bands and the backlit/glow of the screen in the paint. I try to use films less identifiable so the paintings become about film-photo-paint rather than being caught up in a specific narrative. I took over 300 stills in the process of making this series selecting just a few to paint. I have focused on overlooked, split seconds held and frozen in the paint, images that have an uneasy feel, eluding to what is outside of the frame or before and after the moment. Rachel Lancaster 2015
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 and extreme close- ups of inanimate objects, and commonplace domestic interiors. The resulting, often blurred or pixelated, photographs are then used as the source material for her work. Mediated by the poor resolution of 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 dependent on our familiarity with the language and conventions of Hollywood.
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Workplace Gallery is a contemporary art gallery run by artists.
Based in Gateshead UK, Workplace Gallery represents a portfolio of emerging and established artists through the gallery programme, curatorial projects and international art fairs.