“Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings create a sense of time suspended, evoking gesture, atmosphere and memory. Photographs allow me to access the extraordinary, to keep a record of dreams, and to employ the unforeseen.”
To create the large format black-and-white photographs that comprise Observatory, Lauren Semivan brings together the visual languages of drawing, still life painting, and performance to express her dreamlike interior narratives on film. Using charcoal and graphite, Semivan makes gestural marks on large backdrops, setting the emotional tone for each image and leaving traces of her presence. When Semivan does appear in the front of her 8×10 view camera, she often seems caught in a dance, her identity obscured within the image’s painterly abstraction. Strategically placed objects also populate the staged environment, adding additional layers for the eye to peruse and inviting us into the depths of the artist’s inner world.
Lauren Semivan (b. 1981) is an artist living and working in Detroit, Michigan. She received a BA in studio art from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at many galleries and museums and she has taught photography at the College for Creative Studies, The Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Wayne State University. Semivan has received numerous awards for her work including Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 and The Griffin Museum of Photography’s Griffin Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Artforum, and Photograph magazines and is part of the permanent collections at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, The Wriston Art Galleries at Lawrence University, and The Elton John Collection. She is represented by Benrubi Gallery in New York, and David Klein Gallery in Detroit, Michigan.