Settler Seance 2023 Installation: Wall painting, 5 woven paintings, wooden floor sculptures 22 x 36 ft room, dimensions variable

Laurel Sparks

New York
Chiaro Award, 2024

Artist Statement

Although I call myself a painter, my process is closer to mad science. The shapes, hand woven patterns and patched holes are determined by occult systems rather than formal design. Poured gesso, paper pulp, glitter and trinkets serve both tactile and symbolic purposes. The structural geometries have esoteric meaning beyond aesthetics. I embed archetypal codes within colors, sigils and shapes, with the overarching ethos being to establish equilibrium through the interdependence of polarities. The shapes are not measured but fluid, and the torn canvas strips are woven in skewed rhythms to suggest living flux. Crusts of paper pulp, cracked gesso and embedded objects disrupt the stable elegance of interlocking shapes; they assert feral energy that embraces anti-perfection. By adapting cosmic and alchemical world views, I approach paintings as designated playing fields where esoteric secrets yield complex sensory resonances.

While at Headlands

Glyphs found in sacred geometry, string figures, cosmograms and magic squares suggest options for painterly scaffolding which I translate into a handmade personal dialect. While motivated by these profound geometric structures, the organic nature of my materials present quagmires, irregularities and contradictions. Torn woven canvas strips, crusts of paper pulp, cracked gesso and embedded objects disrupt the stable elegance of elemental patterns; they assert feral energy that embraces anti-perfection despite their measured, diagrammatic source.

While at Headlands, I plan to pursue “tapestry” scale works that mirror auspicious planetary transits. Throughout human history, glyphs, sacred objects and talismans have been imprinted with the signatures of macrocosmic forces to study and direct their qualities. I adapt these methods as an act of stewardship of lost or dismissed esoteric practices, while my idiosyncratic use of materials revel in chromatic and physical expression.