Featured Work: Mask and Spine

How do you capture the essence of life? This is an inquiry that sparks my investigations and studio practice.

Illustrated throughout my portfolio, I have tackled this question differently. I have drawn live people, random people, and the departed. I stack canvas, paper, panel…etc. Without question, there are a plethora of “layers” to people, societies, and our world. Life is not “clear cut”, and easily defined. As I have pondered this fact, my recent work has become aligned with describing the intangibility of life via taking a multidisciplinary stance, as I create unconventional portraits.

For example, from my mask and spine body of work, the sculptures are what I like to call figurative atom portraits! Yes, the orbital shapes are inspired by people; however, not their outward appearance, but their intrinsic makeup. The rounded shaped strips reference the circular paths of an electron orbit around the nucleus of an atom. Atoms are stated as being the building blocks of matter. Atoms make up numerous things, including people. They speak to our macro-world and quantum world, predictability and ambiguity. This is an expression that I constantly seek to realize in my own work.

Lauren A. Toomer, Bamboo strips, 25 x 6 x 8
Lauren A. Toomer, Spine, 2013, Bamboo strips, 25 x 6 x 8 inches
Lauren A. Toomer, Untitled (mask), 2013. Bamboo strips and wood stain
Lauren A. Toomer, Untitled (mask), 2013, Bamboo strips and wood stain

The structural forms clearly define themselves as matter. I use light as my drawing medium to cast shadows of my structures; it channels thoughts around “unattainability” and change.

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