Claire Oliver Gallery, New York
Lauren Fensterstock: Scrying
Claire Oliver is pleased to announce the gallery’s participation at the 2017 edition of VOLTA NY, with Scrying, a solo booth of new mixed media sculpture by Portland-based artist Lauren Fensterstock. The artist’s newest works combine chromed and rubberized shell work with mouth blown and cold worked glass, conceptually questioning the current “ selfie” obsession and a possible link between this and past social obsessions. To navigate the intrigues of 16th astrologer John Dee obtained a black obsidian mirror carved byAztecs from an early expedition to the New World. In a process called scryingDee used this black handheld device to divine the future. Dee’s mirror was seen as a magical contact point between present and future and the tangible and the metaphysical. Two centuries later in the nearby English countryside, aristocratic tourists utilized another form of black mirror — named the Claude Glass after its alleged inventor Claude Lorrain — to momentarily capture the reflections of idyllic garden scenes. In this case, the black glass served as the means to view the world like a composed painting, with the viewer as the main subject.
By holding the glass in an outstretched hand, one could look at ones’self in the idyllic pastoral landscape behind; the world could be seen through a carefully curated lens, rather than the naked complexity of lived experience. InScrying, Lauren Fensterstock’s new body of work, the artist draws upon these diverse mirror histories to create a series of objects and installations that blend, upend, and poke fun at these precedents. Rendered entirely in black, Fensterstock’s work casts a shadow blurring the century court life, Elizabeth I’s logic of these seemingly distinct intellectual histories. The installation is comprised of a large cabinet on the west wall of the stand, housing a series of handheld black glass objects that, when held up as a mirror, reflect an unnaturally large human in relation to the world around him. A series of rubber, glass and chrome wall pieces reflect and refract with black mouthblown glass mirrors. Viewed through today’s lens of “ selfie culture”, we see man’s continued struggle to hold dominance over nature and the natural world. Ultimately, mirrors provide a space for the viewer’s own interpretation. Scrying will offer the visitor an opportunity to examine the cultural precedents that influence and shape our current worldviews; Fensterstock presents an opportunity to look out, beyond, and within.