The two works featured here address perception -- how what we see informs our notions of narrative, knowledge, and security. Lauren Valley, a current BFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon University, questions how our perceptions can differ from reality, how the body and mind interact, and what she describes as the "complex barrier" between them. Her work explores that barrier and also the ways that the mind and body intersect -- in what ways do they differ? In what ways do they sync?
Predator and Space, both begun in late 2014, play with the concept of changing perceptions in space. Space puts the object, a cast head, death mask like in its lifelessness, in a plexiglass barrier for the viewer to peer through. Encased like an artifact or trophy, it provokes curiosity and revulsion in equal measure. We're forced to ask why she is here; what happened to her? What would we do with that information if we knew? When viewed from different angles, our reaction shifts, but we're never allowed fully out of the realm if discomfort; there is clearly something a little "off" here. We want to look away, but the more we wish we could, the more we keep looking.
In the other work, Predator, it is the viewer who is ensnared, brought inside the artwork without necessarily knowing it at first. Shown in a mostly-dark room, the viewer approaches a serene face lit by a mesmerizing, effervescent little bulb, anglerfish-like. Not until the visitor's eyes adjust to the darkened surroundings do they realize they are surrounded by fishing line, tape, a body and limbs, and are essentially trapped.
I enjoy the tension of these works, the way one is compelled to keep looking, if partly out of helplessness, however powerless in our inability to turn away emotionally, or in the case of Predator, physically.
More information and work by Lauren Valley can be found at her website, laurenvalley.com.