Shoebox Conversations: Lauren Mendelsohn-Bass
Welcome to our new program, Shoebox Conversations. Our team, Kristine Schomaker, Sheli Silverio and S. Vollie Osborn, is meeting up with artists via Zoom to discuss their art practice, new work, upcoming exhibitions, and more.
Lauren Mendelsohn-Bass is a Los Angeles born painter who received her Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her work takes the viewer on a journey through the word of superficial reality where artificially alluring and nostalgically innocent context marks darker thought, ideas and actions. Playing on the visual tropes of mass marketing and vintage advertisements, her work explores the ways reality is obscured when presented as ostensibly attractive. As popular culture navigates an era of “fake news”, social media, and alternative facts, nothing is as it seems. Her paintings examine today’s culture where truth is fluid; ideas issues and events are routinely reframed to reinforce brand, and even daily life is depicted in a series of perfectly posed, edited and filtered images on social media.
Guilty pleasures are portrayed in a vibrant world of bold imagery. Her work delves into society’s complex emotions around what we desire, and more specifically, the mass marketed idea of desirability in lifestyle, perception, physical characteristics, conspicuous consumption and more. Luscious color and alluring imagery is expertly depicted with great detail in order to seduce the senses. The artist wields realism as a means to expose the lack of reality in socially constructed norms.
Inspired by 1950’s era advertising, Mendelsohn-Bass evokes a classic Film Noir feel and its emotive German Expressionist roots. Mixing pop imagery and classic noir iconography, she draws the viewer into an enticing sugar coated world, only to find all is not as sweet as it appears. The work appeals to a nostalgic longing for an idealized mechanism to identify villain and hero. In the classic films it was so easy, but careful branding and cultivation of image has made it harder to see the core characteristics of public figures, products and events. Through juxtapositions of symbolic and stylized iconic imagery with high emotional content, her paintings maintain a sense of dramatic tension. The mystery and drama of noir is retained while swapping the dark urban landscape of Hollywood classic films for bright candy colors and a façade of beautiful perfection.