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Fragments of the Real: The Mixed Media Collages of Stephanie Lawrence

Alpha 4, Mixed Media 40 x 40
Stephanie Lawrence’s captivating mixed media collages are influenced by graffiti and city walls from around the globe. Lawrence, who travels frequently, is interested in the layering of billboards, fliers, graffiti, and other features of the aging environment. Travelers to ancient cities talk of charm, antique collectors gush over patina—Lawrence alchemizes these elements with a keen aesthetic vision, creating abstract representations of the places she’s visited. Her work evokes the same feeling as the time-worn cement, wood, and tiling it represents. It introduces a feeling of warmth, use, and purpose.  

In addition to her wall textures, Lawrence incorporates flyers pulled from the walls of cities she’s visited—Rome in particular—and collages them, creating imagery suggestive of Kurt Schwitters’ Das Undbild, but infused with Pop Art colors and the frayed edges of punk rock posters. Lawrence is at her finest here, representing the cross-generational medley that comes to define many public spaces.  

Lawrence begins her process by selecting colors and thinking about composition. If additional texture is required, she prepares the canvas with a mixture of water, glue, and plaster to create a substratum that allows her to use a technique similar to fresco. Lawrence then uses dry pigments or calcium carbonate acrylics to fill out the painting, adding then removing where necessary. This technique, which is similar to distressing furniture, allows her to effectively replicate signs of aging in a short period of time.

By creating these beautifully textured collages, Lawrence hopes to capture the relationship between time and the urban environment. The fragments taken from her travels—the textures of walls, the flyers and billboards—are reproduced and remixed in spellbinding fashion, while the gracefully aging walls around us are, perhaps for the first time, brought to the forefront of our imaginations. 

Lawrence's work will be on display at Agora Gallery in Chelsea from March 6 to March 26, with an opening reception on March 12th, 2015 from 6-8 pm. Her works can also be seen at www.agora-gallery.com and www.art-mine.com.

ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN ARTINFO: GALLERY GUIDE, MARCH, 2015

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