In her show statement, artist Lauren Frances Evans mentions the Greek term omphalos. Translated directly, this word means navel, but beyond the literal meaning this word also refers to several different symbolic centers. The navel is a scar that we all carry. It symbolizes, in equal parts, both connection and subsequent separation. And while we are all quite familiar with what a navel is, it can still seem quite foreign and strange when observed from up close or from out of context. With her artwork, Lauren Frances Evans accomplishes much the same thing.
The pieces found within her show, Other-Oriented, are all brought to us in a variety of mediums, and yet, despite the varying techniques, all of the pieces accomplish the task of unfamiliarizing the familiar.
Two pieces in particular, Radiant Void I & II, stood out as striking examples of the themes that the show as a whole seems to be touching on. In reference to Michelangelo’s famous piece, The Creation of Adam, a severed arm reaches out across a void towards a mass of limbs, finger and flesh that appears to be reaching back. The two figures, one recognizable the other a strange conglomeration, along with the distance between them can be read in a number of ways: the isolation of the one from the masses, a longing to be a part of some unrecognizable whole, the unexplainable human compulsion towards the grotesque.
Where the pieces surrounding the walls of the gallery subtly display this paradoxical message, the sculptures in the room confront viewers head on with it. The four large pieces are spread throughout the floor in such a way that one will always within sight regardless of where one turns. The texture of the enamel and the plaster creates a very visceral, very unnerving experience for the viewer.
Lauren Frances Evans is a contemporary sculpture and mixed-media artist from Atlanta, GA. Evans completed her MFA at the University of Maryland in 2014. She currently resides in Iowa City, IA where she works as the Visual Arts Coordinator for Project Art at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as well as a teacher in the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa.
More of her work can be found at laurenfrancesevans.com
Also in the Helene Center this month is Fright Night, a group show by the Advanced Studio Practices class here at Graceland.
From the Show Statement:
“Halloween has come and gone, leaving rotting Jack-O-Lantern’s in the streets and leftover candy lining the shelves. For many, this time brings the fun of being scared and frightening others, while for some it serves as a time to reflect on the larger themes like fear and mortality.
This show seeks to explore the various themes of fear, nightmares and general spookiness in the works created by the students of Graceland University’s Advanced Studio Practices course.
From the cultural tradition of sugar skulls during Day of the Dead, to an exploration of broken memories, to the joy to be found in shock and surprise, every artist involved in this show brings their own unique interpretation on just what exactly it means for something to be scary.
Equally as diverse as the spectrum of interpretations are the variety of medias used to explore these themes. Found objects, sculpture, digital illustration, and painting among other methods were used to create this varied collection of works.”
Fright Night will be on display in the Student Gallery until November 20, 2015.
Other-Oriented will be on display in the Constance Gallery until December 4, 2015.