Running Towards Nothing
Lancaster is known for works which take found photographs as the basis for gestural, highly evocative paintings which reduce personalizing details in service to an exploration of atmosphere. The fluid lines of her paintings push their source material nearly to the point of abstraction, conjuring forms and spatial relationships through oppositions in value. The resulting images take on the murky quality of memory, depicting mundane moments pared down to their poetic essences.
This new series of paintings marks a material departure for Lancaster, who for the first time uses exclusively water-based paints. From this purely formal decision emerges a new quality to her images: where previous series have taken particular preoccupation with shadows, these works emphasize luminescence. Many of these new scenes involve pools and mirrors, surfaces which destabilize the ground of the image by refracting light. Within Lancaster’s work, they would seem to suggest reality dissolving in real time, warping and doubling our perceptions of space. The canonical nature of Lancaster’s subjects – women seated in front of mirrors, bathers, and dancers in ethereal spaces – further dislocates them from the specifics of their era to achieve a timeless transcendence.
For this body of work, Lancaster has also expanded her process of translation: whereas previous works were painted directly from photographs, here she has added the intermediary step of pastel drawing, a factor which allows masterfully tight compositions to appear sprawling and freehanded. With her procedure elongated in this way, the works become extended meditations on the search for permanence in experience, testaments to the slippery nature of time.