Clifford • Smith Gallery is pleased to
announce its May exhibition of new paintings by Laurel Sparks. This
is the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. There
will be a reception on Friday, May 6th, from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.
In her earlier work, Laurel Sparks toyed with the traditions of portraiture
and landscape, seemlessly joining the monstrous and the beautiful
into an oddly contented union. Her previous paintings seemed to operate
at the cellular/biological level, in a world of tortured glamour reveling
in its own excess.
In these newest paintings, Sparks confronts us with twisted symbols
of superfluity: the ossified remnants of refinement and taste. Borrowing
freely from baroque ornamentation and anatomical references, Sparks
weaves a gently unsettling yet sweetly melancholy chronicle of the
mythology of class.
Of her work, the artist says,
“My paintings fuse the decorative and biological. I interlock
shapes, textures and colors to create abstract compositions that are
ornate and skeletal. My forms are derived from images from anatomy
books, art nouveau designs and crystal chandeliers. By fusing glamorous
and grotesque elements, I conjure the unknown and fantastical.”
At once fleshy and confectionary, my paintings emphasize physicality.
I use watercolor markers, marble dust and acrylic to layer sinewy
lines with thick, chalky pools. Tangled within the overall pattern
are sheaths of glitter and modulated color. The ethereal and tactile
media coalesce and dissolve into space, while maintaining a flatness
associated with a 1960’s pop aesthetic. Concrete materiality
is as much the subject of my paintings as the abstract imagery.”
Laurel Sparks holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts
University and an MFA from The Milton Avery Graduate School of the
Arts at Bard College. She has previously exhibited locally at the
Gallery @ Green Street and will be included in an upcoming exhibition
at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. This is her second solo
exhibition at the Clifford-Smith Gallery.