Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Memories of Leda
“The motivation behind this work is an investigation into the image and perception. Despite the observations of Roland Barthes in the early 1980s, we tend to invest an uncritical faith in photography, accepting its documentation as an objective view of events and often favoring its record over one’s actual recollections. Memories of Leda touches upon the ambiguities of texts, be they photographic, painterly or mnemonic, and creates an encounter open to interpretation.
The story of Leda and the Swan establishes a mythological underpinning onto which new narratives may be inscribed. Translated from photographic texts, the story is spoken as softly blurred paintings, resulting in an account of nostalgia informed by visual documents. Memories of Leda wrestles with notions of truth and reality as mediated by our memories, reminding us that the authorial voice remains disputed.”
“This new body of work represents a departure in the artist’s practice as she explores figuration in Stay Awhile. Her previous output has included elegant studies of chandeliers and ambiguous cityscapes, rendered through an aesthetic emphasis on light and colour. While the artist begins her process with recognizable subject matter, she distills the formal beauty of the familiar to the point of abstraction. Laura Wood approaches representation as an immersion into the potentially unfamiliar terrain of the subjective.
In Stay Awhile the artist takes the human body as her point of departure and works figuratively through the suspension of its familiar parameters. Taking pornographic images as her inspiration, the artist aestheticizes the subject matter by literally altering the conditions of its perception. The images are elegant, soft, and beautiful, and create an aesthetic distance from the factual reality of the bodies and acts they represent.
In Stay Awhile the content is second to its distillation; the paintings convey the impressionistic nature of perception.
When viewing Wood’s work the recognizable is deferred, compelling the viewer to linger in an ambiguous surface. At once vaguely nostalgic and suggestive of the distortions of memory, the works suspend the viewer’s recognition of the familiar and yet preserve its traces simultaneously. This compelling tension between the known and the unknown prolongs the viewer’s engagement with the works, and warrants the contemplation of representation as a potentially fallible investment in “fact”.”
Press releases courtesy of the Tatar Gallery.