Lauren Elder’s Latest Show Plays a Joke on High-Capitalism

Driven by a fascination with language, consumerism, and human behavior, Lauren Elder takes full advantage of digital production techniques in brand-new works that feature a vibrant palette of blues and greens. The resulting sleek aesthetic, characterized by glossy screen-like surfaces and graphic motifs, is now on view in “Blue Pacific,” her solo exhibition at Rod Barton in London.

  • Installation view of Lauren Elder, “Blue Pacific,” courtesy of Rod Barton and the artist.

    Installation view of Lauren Elder, “Blue Pacific,” courtesy of Rod Barton and the artist.

Elder joins a cohort of young, L.A.-based new media artists—including Petra Cortright and Amalia Ulman—who are challenging how art and identity are developed in the technological age. In “Blue Pacific,” Elder deconstructs processes of observation and memory through three categories she has developed, defined by different materials and techniques, which collectively illustrate how experiences of space, media, and consumer goods are filtered and processed into symbols and language.

The first in this series are drawings of lived-in interiors digitally printed on mirrored acrylic and depicted in the inverted colors of a blueprint. 

Next: floating items in relief, made through a process of vacuum-forming, which resemble a tangible version of chaotic thoughts tied to specific objects or events. These things are immediately recognizable as artifacts, shapes, or logos as would be seen in the everyday spaces shown in the first group—chairs, flowers or lamps, as in Ice Sweats no Sweat (all works 2015)—reduced down to their essential forms. In each of these works, the items or the piece itself is colorized with swaths of paint, giving each otherwise monochromatic work a different mood.

Last are the sculptures themselves. These are the structures that concretize the forms shown in the past steps, remaking them life-size. However, now a lotus flower or an apple (as in Lu Lotus Bird’s Foot) is reduced to the symbol of itself, prompting the viewer to rethink how he or she interacts differently with the “same” object in a different iteration.

—K. Sundberg

Blue Pacific” is on view at Rod Barton, London, 13 March–11 April 2015.

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