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Laura Splan

New York CIty, NY


My work explores perceptions of beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort. I use anatomical and medical imagery as a point of departure to explore these dualities and our ambivalence towards the human body. Viruses, blood, x-rays of bones and viscera can be at once unsetting and enticing. I often combine scientific images and materials with more domestic or familiar ones. The ornamentation of wallpaper or the design of a doily lends a sort of relief in its familiarity and pleasing pattern. This juxtaposition creates a response that fluctuates between seduction and repulsion, comfort and alienation. I try to create work that evokes a dichotomous experience with formal imagery that upon closer inspection reveals some uncomfortable truth about our cultural and biological conditions. My work attempts to challenge our constructed responses to these images by triggering a double take in which the viewer re-evaluates their initial perceptions.

I am often inspired by the inherent qualities of a material or process. I enjoy the experimentation that goes into the discovery that the viscosity of blood facilitates its use as 'ink' or the materiality of remnant facial peel allows its use as 'fabric.' Deciphering the narrative implications and poetic possibilities within these qualities is an important part of my practice. I am interested in an exploration into the historical and contemporary meaning that a culture projects onto an object, material, or image as well as in an investigation into its physical attributes. It is important that the work bereflexive and self-contained -- how not only the form of an object can reveal meaning but also the materials and process by which it was made."

Laura Splan earned her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA and BA fromUniversity of California, Irvine, CA. She has shown at International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago; Limn Art Gallery, San Francisco; the New York Hall of Science, New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon; and the Museum for Arts and Design, New York City, among others.

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