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October 14 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Free and open to the public. Masks required.
Mari Elaine Lamp has always been drawn to images of the intimate. Moving around a lot with her family when she was young meant that at an early age she developed an awareness of her own subjectivity, learning to see herself in relation to what surrounded her. Her interest in the most familiar space, that of the body, has taken her deep into artistic traditions of realism.
In recent years she has become interested in the objects and spaces the body inhabits. Her paintings of everyday domestic scenes present a world stripped of noise and activity. Observed in moments of stillness, light, shape, and texture become claustrophobic. The self-portraiture present in the work hints at a mind not entirely comfortable with itself. Skin often appears mottled and unnatural, and views are cropped or veiled. This is the artist, looking at her own looking, and the result for the viewer is a lingering, underlying sense of unease.
Of her work, Lamp has said “I’m interested in the blurred line between quietness that suggests rest and stillness that evokes desperation. Is my hiding place a sanctuary or a prison? Can the way I see myself really be trusted? These questions point to how my lifelong struggle with mental illness informs my work. I’ve come to think of the effects depression and anxiety have on my body as my superpower. My limitations require me to reckon with my own weakness and extend empathy where I might not otherwise. As I, along with the rest of the world, have been forced to slow down and spend more time indoors and more time alone with myself, these visions have become all the more potent.”
The work presented in Fixed Gaze straddles the pandemic timeframe, during which Lamp’s themes of isolation, domestic interiors and issues of perspective played out and were intensified through long months of quarantine.
About the Artist:
Mari Elaine Lamp is a painter and installation artist living and working in Philadelphia. She received an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2017 and a BA in Art and Writing from Houghton College. Her work has been shown at The Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, On Stellar Rays in New York, the Workhouse Art Center in Lorton, Virginia, and at the Katzen Art Center at American University. In the summer of 2016, she attended the Chautauqua School of Visual Art summer residency. She is an art instructor at Holy Family University where she teaches drawing, and is a member of AUTOMAT, an artist collective and gallery in Philadelphia.