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Laura Berger Six Suns scale.jpg

AURA

LAURA BERGER

LYDIA BAKER
LARYSA MYERS

EXTENDED TO 16 DECEMBER 2023

AURA| Laura Berger | Lydia Baker | Larysa Myers

11 November - Extended to 16 December 2023

Hands emerge from the darkness to cup and caress. Sunlight radiates through the haze to gleam on reclining figures. Heads lean solicitously towards each other in conversation or embrace. This collection of work by artists Laura Berger, Lydia Baker, and Larysa Myers draws together images of dreamlike states and feminised environments with an intimate focus on the female figure. 

In these paintings and drawings, inner and outer landscapes converge, interweaving imagery of the natural world with evocations of psychological moments. All three artists use carefully chosen colour palettes to generate atmosphere and to capture powerful emotional states. In Larysa Myers’ characteristic graphite drawings, for example, monochrome is used to convey mysterious nocturnal scenes illuminated by moonlight. In a new triptych by Lydia Baker the temperature shifts from fleshy pinks in the left-hand panel to dreamy blues on the right, hinting at spiritual transformation, while the pared-back hues in Laura Berger’s paintings give them a timelessness that is enhanced by the figures’ nudity. 

Throughout the exhibition, female forms are depicted as abundant vessels for psychological projections. The anonymity of the characters creates a sense of generosity and openness, allowing them to function as symbols while also subverting the ways in which archetypes have been used to restrict women’s power. For instance, in Larysa Myers’ work, hands are repeatedly used as synecdoche for the whole figure, often emerging disruptively from patterns that evoke both domestic interiors and the geometries of the natural world. 

The use of esoteric symbols, surreal juxtapositions, and hazy environments adds to the dreamlike feeling of the show. Many of the works embody a slipperiness of meaning; as Laura Berger puts it, trying to unravel one of her images is like trying to grasp the details of a dream or memory as they slip away into the past. Motivations and backstories remain mysterious in her paintings, which instead embody moods and sensations. 

In this exhibition, a sense of peace is often counterbalanced by a simultaneous feeling of menace, drawing together dualities of isolation and togetherness, denial and fulfilment. Within these works, figures are frequently depicted finding a state of rest within an inhospitable or uncertain environment. In Lydia Baker’s triptych, a couple embrace while they look out over the site of an explosion or environmental event; Baker sees this in part as a response to shared fears around the unfolding climate crisis. 

Taken together, the paintings and drawings of these artists hint at a central process of taking refuge through creative world-building. This could be seen as a mode of making sanctuary that avoids self-absorbed introspection. Instead, we find a form of generative escapism that connects both artist and viewer back to their environment and to the world around them. 

Text by Anna Souter

Installation view of Aura exhibition featuring works by Laura Berger

Installation image of AURA by Demelza Lightfoot

Detail of Six Suns by Laura Berger

Laura Berger, Six Suns, Oil on canvas, 60" x 48" | 152.5 x 121.5 cm

Three Visions in Time by Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker, Three Visions In Time, 2023, Colour pencil and wax pastel on paper, 74 x 112 cm

Installation view of Three Visions in Time by Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker, Three Visions In Time, 2023, Colour pencil and wax pastel on paper, 74 x 112 cm

The Mess by Larysa Myers
Three Loves by Larysa Myers
The Quarrel by Larysa Myers

Larysa Myers, The Mess, Three Loves, The Quarrel, Pencil on Japanese paper, 21 x 30 cm

Installation view of I Met You There Inside A Dream by Laura Berger

Installation image of I Met You There Inside A Dream, by Laura Berger. Image by Demelza Lightfoot

Laura Berger (b.1979) is based in Chicago, USA. 

“I want the paintings to have a loose, dreamlike quality and for the people in the images to be almost symbolic. Through them, I have a means of exploring subconscious experiences, and their universality allows the image to maintain a lot of openness, to which anyone can hopefully find points of connection. I initially started painting as a way of connecting to myself and as an attempt to reach out to others, and I still feel this as a main driving force behind my work.” LB

Recent solo presentations include Future Fair with MAMA Projects, NY (2023); Flight Path with Hashimoto Contemporary, NY (2022) and group shows include Fantastic Landscape, Double Q, HK (2023)' Moving Mountains, The Pit, Palm Springs, CA (2023); Madame, Madame with Azadeh Almizadeh, Tube Culture hall, Milan, IT (2023); Picasso:50 Years Later, Elmhurst Art Museum. Elmhurst, IL (2023); Tomorrow Is Tomorrow Is Tomorrow, Kristin Hjellegjerde, London, UK (2023). 

 

Lydia Baker (b.1990, Norfolk, VA) Lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Baker graduated with an MFA in painting from New York Academy of Art 2020. 

“I keep coming back to the idea of intimacy. In previous works, my figures were more isolated, but now they’re starting to form relationships and they’re a little more resolved. I think part of the need to have the figures come together and get to a safe location is a reaction to the climate crisis and the sense of things happening in the world beyond our personal control.” LB

Recent solo presentation include Encounters, London Art Fair with Wilder Gallery, London, UK (2023); In Between, Massey Klein, NY ( 2022); Platform Art with Massey Klein in partnership with David Zwirner (online). Recent group exhibitions include Future Fair, with Massey Klein, NY, (2023); A Suitable Accomplishment, Trotter & Scholar, NY (2023), The Drawing Stall, Brooklyn, NY( 2023); Charta, Fortnight Institute Salon, (2022). Baker has been featured in The Wick, Artnet, Fad Magazine, New American Paintings, ArtMaze Magazine, New Visionary magazine and Artsy.

Larysa Myers

“My paintings and drawings explore personal history through the universal and the cyclical, the mythological and the contemporary. It often reflects on ideals of motherhood or femininity and its dualities. The body is reduced to a female archetype as the form is silhouetted and manipulated. Settings are domestic, wild, mundane, and fantastical, each opening into different parts of the psyche and identity. I work from imagination influenced by memory, feelings, symbols and nature. Repetitive patterns and lines in mark making lead me to a slower, more reflective state.” LM

 

Larysa Myers studied drawing and painting at Grand Central Academy and textile design at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and developed a love for classical drawing methods and pattern making. After leaving the city and moving to Beacon, NY she started a family and began a new body of work focusing on drawing. Recent group exhibitions include Paintings of Common Objects, Fortnight Institute (2023), Charta, the Fortnight Institute Salon (2022), I Walk Through Walls on Me Paints Me (2022), Night Scenes at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Brooklyn, NY (2021), and Soft Temple at Mother Gallery, Beacon, NY (2019). Her work has been featured in Maake Magazine and ArtMaze Mag.

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