Tread, Riser, Passage
Lauren Clay toys with the physical and the virtual; her process of working is a dance between the two which combines painting, sculpture, architecture, and design to re-envision their potential for spatial contrast, fantasy, and confusion. Clay’s process transforms small collages of hand-marbled paper into an immersive floor-to-ceiling environment which she creates digitally, and then translates back into a physical space; or in this instance: a virtual space. The wallpaper installations acquire a double layer of illusionistic yet improbable spaces floating on a background of seemingly never-ending undulating stripes of colour.
The works on paper are part of a body of work which show sculptural forms on a flat surface, and which, like the wallpaper, are suggestive of her work in further dimensions; they hint at the shapes’ physicality suggested by the wallpaper, whose architectural arches, columns, and possible edifices are nonetheless patently unreal. The oneiric spaces turn the vision into pathways through time, space, and scale, in which the viewers are asked to continually reposition themselves, at once playful and spiritual.
With these works she is exploring how the psyche can manifest itself in architectural forms, inspired by Jung’s description of his seminal dream, his dream house, which inspired his idea of the collective unconscious. The idea that a house reflects our psyche and the different layers correspond to archetypal inhabitants of our own psychology. She is also drawing from imagery of Ka doors from Egyptian and Etruscan tombs, these false doors were thought to create a passageway between the spiritual world and the physical realm. Many of the doorways are knotted or obstructed, referencing Celtic knots and knot patterns in Roman decorative floor mosaics.