Fragile Terrains

August 7 – September 6, 2018
Show Statement

With a practice grounded in research and experimentation with the chemistry of ceramics, Lauren Shapiro is deeply connected to scientific processes within her work. A native of Miami, she contemplates shifting global landscapes through the lens of her hometown, examining how climate change affects the coastline of Southeastern Florida and tropical ecosystems. She is fascinated by the interconnectedness of water systems on the planet – how melting ice on one continent will tip the balance and cause seas to rise on another.

 

Inspired by these climate phenomenons, Shapiro’s work observes connections between ecological systems, the hidden geometries in nature and her own human presence within them. The artist hand-molds fractal shapes in clay, inviting feelings of tension and fragility by stacking them atop or beside one another. Cast from folded origami paper, she intermixes geometric forms with ceramic flora in order to contemplate nature’s design. Paying particular attention to the rhythm and repetition present within a natural system, the work contemplates the delicate balance required to keep ecosystems symbiotic. Earthy materials like plaster and clay are the foundations, and these materials are formed into objects that – much like any system - require the perfect amount of tension and balance to remain intact.

 

Miami is ground zero for sea level rise, and cities closely connected with the ocean and water systems are need artists to take an active role to create awareness and foster potential solutions to a changing landscape. Sharing this in common with much of South America, and more specifically the Amazon rainforest of Brazil located in Manaus, she departs for Artist Residency Labverde directly after this exhibition to explore the most diverse ecosystem in the world. During the month of August, the artist will immerse herself in Brazil’s forests and rivers to collect silicone molds of ecological objects affected by mass human presence. From these molds, she will implement a cross-disciplinary project that draws from scientific research: building with unfired clay to form installations which will affect a dialogue about sea level rise and its impact on the environment.

 

After carefully collecting the molds from the Amazon forests and rivers to serve as prototypes and foundation forms, along with interconnecting geometric shapes, the resulting works are site-specific living clay structures of tropical foliage and geometry, emerging directly from the floor and interacting with architectural elements of historical Miami buildings.

 

Due to the transitory nature of the material, the pieces will eventually crack and turn white over time as they dry, and she will record this process through photographs and video. It is through these compositions that Shapiro references issues of forest fragmentation, erosion, and the unsustainable nature of society’s current relationship to the ecosystem.

 

About The Artist

Lauren is a visual artist and educator from Miami, Florida. She earned an M.F.A. from

the University of Miami, where she developed a multiple step casting process in clay

that begins with folded origami paper as the prototypes for plaster molds. Lauren has

been a resident artist in China, at the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen, where

she observed and learned about post-production processes of industrial mold making

and porcelain slip casting. She has exhibited during Art Basel Miami at Scope Art Fair,

and the New Art Dealer’s Alliance (NADA). Lauren’s work has been showcased

internationally during Art Basel Switzerland at Projektraum M54, with an independent

exhibition project for contemporary art to cultivate artistic exchange between different

cities. She is a current artist in residence at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, where

she serves as the Head of the ceramics practice. During the month of August 2018, she

will travel to the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil as a participant of Labverde Residency to

implement project her research of long-term effects of climate change in nature.

More about Unfamiliar Territory

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