In her exhibition at Gallery plan b entitled PODS, Lauren K. Sleat presents a series of drawings using organic “creature-like” material found on the beaches in Provincetown, MA. The large and small format charcoal drawings are primarily in a black and white palette. The artist uses black and white not as a substitute for color but as an abstract way of conveying feeling while leaving space for viewer interpretation. Those who appreciate line and mark making will be drawn to Sleat’s effortless craftsmanship and those who have a sense of humor might be drawn to the interesting compositions that almost feel like a bizarre dance between the pods on the paper.
Sleat’s artwork falls into two main categories which are quite divergent but the process of creating each group is very much in relation to each other. In her first category, Sleat uses class, race, sexuality, and politics as a gateway to more specific topics such as slavery, genocide and more broadly, deviant political ideology. Through metaphoric imagery her work serves as commentary on these issues often underscoring the negative impact they have had on our society from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Her second and central category of work is inspired by the great organic sculptures built by the elements rain, water, wind, and fire. It also draws heavily from the natural shapes and forms we see in nature such as the shapes of river rocks weathered by waters gentle persistence, shadows cast by the moon, and the whimsical movement nature in motion. The second body of work in its organic and loose nature allows the artist a “freeing” period in stark contrast to the mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically exhausting process in creating her political and catastrophic work. In her balance of the two extremes each group becomes more powerful in its own way.
Lauren K. Sleat was born in York, PA. She received her BFA from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and received her MFA in Painting at the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she was the assistant for Abstract Expressionist painter, Grace Hartigan. Sleat currently lives in Atlanta, GA, and works at Georgia College and State University where she is Adjunct Faculty in the Art Department as well as the Interdisciplinary Departments. She also works as an Advanced Placement Studio Art Exam Leader and published contributor for the College Board and Educational testing services. Sleat spends summers at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, to enhance and inform her studio practice. She also works collaboratively with poet Van G. Garrett of Texas, and artists Zoë Charlton of Washington, DC, and Dan Spinner of Connecticut. Her work has been widely exhibited in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, DC, Maryland, Massachusetts and Georgia.