Image: Laura Lancaster, Untitled, 2010, Private Collection, UK, Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK © The Artist
Laura Lancaster was born in Hartlepool, England in 1979. She studied at Northumbria University and lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. In 2008 she won The Sovereign European Art Prize.
Lancaster’s work is about memory and loss. Her paintings take their starting point from found imagery in the form of slides, Polaroid snapshots and photographs, uncovered from a variety of sources including charity shops, flea markets or online bidding websites. Often discarded, ownerless and without sentiment, these pictures are re-awakened by Lancaster on canvas and enlarged as part of the process of abstraction. The subjects are present but distorted by thick brush strokes and dripping paint, as if we ourselves are visualising a distant memory that can’t quite be recalled. What was once a personal memento captured for posterity and reflection becomes ambiguous and haunting and there is a literal blurring of the boundaries between history, memory and imagination.
In recent works Lancaster turns her attention to the reverse of found photographs, where names, dates and descriptions have been carefully handwritten. Lancaster immortalises and amplifies these details, tracing the lines of the letters with great care and accuracy. Detached from their related images, the words hint at particular memories and scenes that the viewer can only imagine.