Lauren Frances Adams: Crazy Quilt

Crazy Quilt

Above: Crazy Quilt installation at the Ackland Art Museum, 31′ x 12′ custom wallpaper print

ART& Lauren Frances Adams
21 September 2018 – 10 March 2019

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This wallpaper design appropriates from the historic American textile technique called crazy quilting. Quilting is a visual and conceptual framework for incorporating images of a variety of objects from the Ackland’s collection, UNC’s historical memorabilia found in the Wilson Library’s special collections, symbols of the state of North Carolina and references to state history, and my own personal keepsakes. These myriad sources converge into a crazy quilt — a metaphor for the overlapping and sometimes seemingly disjunctive influences moving back and forth between the public and private sphere in our contemporary society. A particular emphasis is placed around images from the Ackland’s collection that feature women, remixing the collection to highlight the roles of women in society, politics, labor, and in art history. Historic commemorative ribbons (memorializing the death of Lincoln or a 19th c. veterans’ gathering) are reworked into a new framing device for elevating women’s history in North Carolina and at UNC.

Marx@200, Space Gallery, Pittsburgh PA

Marx@200 Art Exhibition

April 6 through June 3 at SPACE gallery in downtown Pittsburgh

Karl Marx is one of the most influential and controversial thinkers in history. To explore Marx’s continued influence at the time of his bicentennial, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trustand Carnegie Mellon University’s Humanities Center will present Marx@200 from April 6 through June 3 at SPACE gallery in downtown Pittsburgh.

Curated by CMU’s Kathy M. Newman and Susanne Slavick, Marx@200 will feature more than 25 works by artists from around the world. The artworks represent a diverse range of perspectives on Marx and his critique of inequality and capitalism, as well as his influence on political movements and regimes.

“As artists respond to both historical and current conditions, Marx’s legacy has shaped how and what they create,” said Newman, associate professor of English, who has also organized a series of lectures that examine Marx. “He is also becoming a popular culture icon in the digital age, with his image being used in countless memes and on products. We want to give people a chance to examine these phenomena and to reflect on the themes these artists have appropriated for their own work, from the rising tide of globalization to wealth inequality, to job loss and automation.”

Highlights from the exhibition include:

  • Ukranian-born Nataliya Slinko’s gigantic version of Marx’s beard made of steel wool
  • An animated Marx wielding a hammer in battle with Charles Darwin by Michael Mallis
  • Kiluanji Kia Henda’s photographic triptych of a fishing vessel named “Karl Marx, Luanda”
  • Kathryn Clark’s “Foreclosure Quilt,” a stitched urban map of foreclosed homes, block by block
  • An embroidered barcode by Rayna Fahey that says, “Don’t just buy it/Make Revolution”

“Artists working within a variety of economic and political systems have contributed to this show, responding to Marx’s complicated legacy with appreciation or apprehension—and sometimes both. They invite us to consider his critique of capitalism and what it feels like to live in today’s globalized economy,” said Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art.

SPACE is located at 812 Liberty Ave. Gallery hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Sundays 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

In addition to regular gallery hours, there will be an opening reception on Friday, April 6 from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition will be open during the Cultural District Gallery Crawl on Friday, April 27 from 5:30-10 p.m., and a Marx bicentennial program and reception will be held on Saturday, May 5 from 7-9 p.m.

Artists With Links to the Exhibition

For more information, visit

‘Germinal’ at MICA, January 20 – March 13, 2018

lauren frances adams


The solo exhibition by B.F.A. Painting faculty Lauren Frances Adams is a site-specific installation that explores Confederate spaces, race and gender and political activism.

The Maryland College Institute of Art (MICA) presents “Germinal,” a solo exhibition consisting of a site-specific installation by B.F.A. Painting faculty Lauren Frances Adams. The exhibition explores themes converging around feminist activists from American history, domestic ornament in service of political messages, and the recent removal of Baltimore’s Confederate monuments.

“Germinal” opens Saturday, Jan. 20, and runs through Tuesday, March 13, at MICA’s Pinkard Gallery, Bunting Center, 1401 W Mt. Royal Ave. A reception will take place Thursday, Feb. 15, 5 – 7 p.m.

Reflecting on contemporary and historical political movements for the advancement of civil rights in America, Adams’ installation and research-based paintings examine the ways in which white women both helped and hindered progress, as well as the pioneering black feminists who fought for racial justice. Specifically, Adams, whose work often focuses on the history of labor and class, looks at the ways in which activists in American history, particularly women of color from the 18th century through the present day, have been overlooked in favor of white causes. Adams also questions the legacy of white activists such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy who advanced Lost Cause myths and neo-Confederate ideology in public monument building and school curriculums, and grounds the idea of white culpability in racial injustice to the present day.

“Germinal” also showcases the recent public battle over removing Confederate monuments, including Baltimore’s Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument or Spirit of the Confederacy, which was located adjacent to MICA’s campus on Mt. Royal Ave. and dismantled by Mayor Pugh in August.

“Given the recent movement to remove Confederate monuments across the country and in Baltimore, I wanted to create work that responds to the dichotomy between these efforts and the palpable civil and political unrest that has taken hold of the national body politic,” said Adams.

The installation of “Germinal” will transform the gallery space by applying custom wallpaper designs and patterns to the normally white wall space, and will feature collections of painted found objects, such as stacks of locally reclaimed brick from Baltimore featuring patterns and designs reflecting resistance to white supremacy, and oyster shells sourced from Maryland’s Choptank River—where Harriet Tubman lived—with portraits of activists painted on the inside of the shells.

The objects will be incrementally added to the installation throughout the exhibition, accumulating (or “germinating”) over time as though growing out of the initial object. The title is also a play on the word “seminal,” acting as the feminine counter to the male dominated concept of historicity and plays up the role of women in enacting—or hindering—social change. “The works on display encourage a consideration of the ways in which public visual culture has contributed to the reinforcement of Confederate spaces and values, while also highlighting the long history of women who resisted (racialized and gendered) oppression and the continuation of these struggles today,” Adams said.

“Germinal” is supported through a Marcella Brenner Grant for Faculty Development and Research, which annually funds projects that contribute to MICA faculty members’ professional, artistic or scholarly research and development. “Germinal” will be accompanied by an exhibition catalog featuring an essay by MICA Humanistic Studies faculty Christine Manganaro.

Lauren Frances Adams’ work engages political and social histories through iconic images and domestic ornament. At the core of her work are critical explorations of labor and class in visual culture. She draws heavily upon the historical decorative arts, such as wallpaper patterns, quilts and paintings, to find contradictions within the contexts they originated. Alongside painting and mixed-media installations, domestic materials take shape in her research on the construction of political identity. Adams earned her B.F.A. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and her M.F.A. at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work has been exhibited at Nymans House National Trust, Sussex, England; The Walters Museum, Baltimore, Maryland; The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. Recent projects include Smack Mellon in Brooklyn and Plug Projects in Kansas City. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has held residencies at the Cite in Paris and the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil. She is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation M.F.A. Award, a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and the 2016 Trawick Prize. Adams is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a project space in New York City.

Centennial of the Everyday at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in Alexandria, Virginia

A Series of Site-Specific Contemporary Art Installations at Historic Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Shine Light on Overshadowed Stories from Alexandria’s Past

Baltimore artists Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams are part of Time & Place, a public art series commissioned by the Alexandria Office of the Arts

Centennial of the Everyday: May 15 – September 3

Gadsby’s Tavern: 134 North Royal Street, Alexandria, Virginia


May 2, 2017 – Alexandria, Va. – The City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts partners with Baltimore-based artists Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams for a series of site-specific, all-media installations inspired by the history of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Centennial of the Everyday features artistic interventions tucked in among the historic exhibits. It will be on view May 15 – September 3, 2017, at the Museum, located at 134 North Royal Street.

The works reflects the artists’ in-depth research—documented via social media—on the history of women, enslaved people, and anonymous citizens whose stories are overshadowed by other more famous historic figures from the region, such as George Washington and Robert E. Lee.

In Centennial of the Everyday, historic ephemera takes on new contexts. With furniture, stoneware, and textiles as a starting point, Watson and Adams reflect domestic material culture of the past with modern techniques.

For example, in the room of the Female Stranger—an unidentified woman who died in Gadsby’s City Tavern in 1816—the pair created digitally design muslin bedding with a traditional cameo motif that seems to fall away as the pattern continues.

In the Museum’s Ballroom, the artists acknowledge the original Gadsby’s Ballroom, acquired 100 years ago, 1917, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The woodwork now serves as a backdrop for the Met’s collection of Federalist furnishings in the American Wing.

Watson and Adams seek to turn the archival into the interactive. They identified personal stories of place and family history by interviewing people like the descendants of John Gadsby, as well as Nancy Syphax, an enslaved woman owned by Gadsby in the 19th century. Also included was a Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant employee who has worked at the restaurant for two decades. In all, they collaborated with seven subjects, focusing on women and people of color. With these narratives, the pair created a fantastical sculptural installation for the Ballroom.

Using period chairs and altered furniture, these sculptures examine the extraordinary within the conventional. The duo’s artistic interventions are positioned throughout Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Each highlight points from the Museum’s history and public-record archives and parallel the lived stories of present-day Alexandrians and the region’s rich diversity. Architectural fixtures, portraiture of anonymous women, pattern books, and newspaper articles take on new meaning when framed with themes of anonymity, loss, connectivity, and the fragility of memory.

“We hope our project encourages visitors to see history and identity in a new light,” said Watson. “These sculptures and site-specific works evoke the fragility and personal nature of memory.”

“We are thrilled to present our site-responsive work at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum,” said Adams. “Our work foregrounds the underappreciated narratives of many peoples from Alexandria’s rich history.”

This project is part of the Office of the Arts’ Time & Place series, which explores the intersection of contemporary art with Alexandria’s rich and multifaceted history. Using research-based practices and working in a variety of media, Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams—along with Washington-based performance artist Sheldon Scott—have created thought-provoking temporary works that are inspired by the storied past of Gadsby’s Tavern.

Time and Place shines new light on familiar stories and uses the arts to draws connections between past and present,” said Diane Ruggiero, director of the Alexandria Office of the Arts and Events.

Time & Place is a public-art program in partnership with the Office of Historic Alexandria. The goal is to foster exploration and dialogue about our region’s history and its continued reverberations within our community today. Follow #TimeandPlaceALX to join the conversation online. For more information, visit

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. To request a reasonable accommodation or materials in an alternative format, contact Diane Ruggiero at 703.746.5590 (Virginia Relay 711) or

About the Artists
Based in Baltimore, Stewart Watson is the executive director, curator, and co-founder of AREA 405 and co-owner, founder, and president of Oliver Street Studios. She also teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Watson has received four individual artist grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, two individual artist grants from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and was awarded with the 2010 Sadat Art for Peace Prize. Her work has been featured in BmoreArt, Baltimore magazine, Outpost Journal, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and ArtFCity. Watson received her master’s of fine art from the University of Maryland, where she was an Anne Truitt Scholar and a Daniel Nicholson Olkhe Award recipient. She earned her bachelor’s of fine art in sculpture from the Pennsylvania State University. She lives at Oliver Street Studios with her husband, son, their dogs, and cat.

Lauren Frances Adams has exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art; Nymans House National Trust in England; The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Conner Contemporary in Washington, and Smack Mellon in Brooklyn. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has held residencies at the Cite in Paris, Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, and the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil. She is the recipient of a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award and the 2016 Trawick Prize. Her work has been reviewed in Frieze, The Baltimore Sun, and Hyperallergic. Adams is a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

About Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum consists of two buildings, a ca. 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Hotel. The buildings are named for Englishman John Gadsby who operated them from 1796 to 1808. Gadsby’s establishment was a center of political, business, and social life in early Alexandria. The tavern was the setting for dancing assemblies, theatrical and musical performances, and meetings of local organizations. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and the Marquis de Lafayette enjoyed the hospitality provided by the tavern keepers. The Museum offers guided and self-guided tours for individuals and groups. Learn more at Follow @gadsbystavernmuseum on Instagram and @JohnGadsby on Twitter.

About the Office of the Arts

The Office of the Arts promotes the value of arts and culture in Alexandria by nurturing, investing in and celebrating the creative contributions of artists and arts organizations. Through engaging the community, encouraging participation, and facilitating access to the arts, the Office of the Arts works with local artists and arts organizations to build a vibrant community for all of the City’s residents, workers and visitors. The Office of the Arts is a division of the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. Learn more at or follow @alexartsoffice on Instagram.


Contact: Alyssa Ross, City of Alexandria, 703.746.4572,

Group Exhibitions in Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, and more

This spring my work is featured in four group exhibitions.

‘The Nothing That Is: A Drawing Show in Five Parts‘ @ The Carnegie in Kentucky, March 10 – April 15

Kentucky Derby Party and Auction @ Smack Mellon in New York, May 6

‘Artists in Residence 30th Anniversary Residency Retrospective’, Artspace, Raleigh, NC, May 19 – June 24

Unloaded, traveling group show curated by Susanne Slavick, making stops at the Bolivar Art Gallery at the University of Lexington, Kentucky, and then traveling on to Portland, Maine at the ICA Maine, and Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, and other venues to be announced later in the year.

Time & Place: GADSBYS

Above, Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria overlaid with the original Gadsby’s ballroom interior, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York


Time & Place is an initiative of the Alexandria Office of the Arts’ public art program to invite artists with research-based practices to create thought-provoking, temporary artwork at sites managed by the Office of Historic Alexandria. Through compelling art projects in a variety of media, Time & Place will foster exploration and dialogue about Alexandria’s rich history.

The first Time & Place exhibition will take place at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. DC-based artist Sheldon Scott and the Baltimore-based artist team of Lauren Frances Adams and Stewart Watson began their research in August, 2016, meeting with historians, archaeologists, and community members. Their research will continue through the end of 2016, with opportunities for the public to engage with their research processes.

Sheldon Scott is developing both an immersive performance art installation in the spring of 2017, and temporary art exhibition. Using the history of the harvesting of ice from the Potomac River and the storage and use of ice at Gadsby’s as a starting point, both works will examine the historic relationship of the Potomac River and the people of Alexandria, and the contemporary utility of the river as a resource.

Through their research, Stewart Watson and Lauren Frances Adams plan to develop a series of artworks to be installed at Gadsby’s in the summer of 2017. Their research focuses on women, enslaved peoples, and anonymous citizens whose stories are rarely told in light of the typical fêting of historically famous individuals. They intend to develop artworks will utilize familiar domestic materials such as wood, ceramics, and textiles in period-specific iterations to bring a contemporary understanding to these themes.

Bmore Art Journal #3 : LEGACY

Issue 3 of the BmoreArt Journal of Art + Ideas explores the issue of LEGACY for artists in the Baltimore region. What is our cultural birthright and who are our artistic forbearers? How can we, as creative and equity-minded citizens, learn from the successes and failures of our ancestors in Baltimore?

Issue 3 features cultural leaders like Joyce J. Scott and John Waters, compares generations of makers, and analyzes the history of our cultural landscape. The magazine features writing by Cara Ober, Bret McCabe, Marianne Amoss, Jermaine Bell, Martina Dodd, Kerr Houston, Christopher Llewellyn Reed, Michael B. Tager, Fred Scharmen, and Julie Scharper. Photography for Issue 3 included Chris Attenborough, Kelvin Bullock, Theresa Keil, Rachel Rock Palermo, Justin Tsucalas, and Stephen Spartana. The magazine also featured artwork by Khadija Nia Adell, Lauren Frances Adams, and Linda Day Clark.

You can get a copy via mail here, or in local museum shops and bookstores in Baltimore.

Baltimore Rising @ MICA

lauren frances adams baltimore rising

Read more here:

Baltimore Rising is an exhibition bringing together a broad survey of works by 15 artists — with significant ties to Baltimore — who address the social, economic, political and racial issues that propelled the city to the national spotlight in 2015.

Artists: Derrick Adams, Lauren Adams, Devin Allen, Sonya Clark, J.M. Giordano, Logan Hicks, Jeffrey Kent, Nate Larson, Nether, Olivia Robinson, Paul Rucker, Joyce J. Scott, Tony Shore, Shinique Smith and Susan Waters-Eller.

On view Nov. 2-23, 2016

Fred Lazarus IV Center for Graduate Studies
131 W North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21201

Gallery hours:
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.

Opening Reception
Friday, November 4, 5 – 8 p.m.
Lazarus Center

Community Forum
After the Baltimore Uprising: Still Waiting for Change
Wednesday, November 9, 7 – 9 p.m.
Lazarus Center Auditorium

Are we any better off today than we were in April 2015? What has changed? What still needs to change? Baltimore Bloc coordinator Ralikh Hayes, #WestWednesday organizer Tawanda Jones, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, author D. Watkins and JHU professor Lester Spence (moderator) will talk about where we are now, selective policing and the DOJ report.

Artists Panel
Can Artists Ignite a Revolution?
Wednesday, November 16, 7 – 9 p.m.
Lazarus Center Auditorium

What is the role of the arts in revolution? Photographer J.M. Giordano, visual artist and musician Paul Rucker, multi-disciplinary artist and educator Joyce J. Scott, MICA painting chair Tony Shore and UMD professor Sheri Parks (moderator) will talk about how the arts can serve as a tool to examine society and to amplify the voices that most need to be heard.

Project Statement by Lauren Frances Adams:

This wallpaper installation depicts protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Taking a Knee portrays the many athletes and musicians who have kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of sports events during the past two months. The blue striped wallpaper, which has a silver moiré pattern, is interwoven with silver painted figures of those who have chosen to protest inequality and injustice in America. The variety of figures depicted spans from professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the protest in August, to college and high school footballers, soccer players, marching band performers, and team coaches. Taking a Knee celebrates the stance taken both on and off the field by this new generation of protesters.

Say I Am @ Plug Projects, Kansas City

lauren frances adams

Say I Am: Lauren Frances Adams, Caroline Wells Chandler, Pixy Liao, and Yvonne Osei
September 16 – Ocotber 29, 2016
Opening reception, September 16, 6-9pm

PLUG Projects presents Say I Am, an exhibition featuring the work of Lauren Frances Adams, Caroline Wells Chandler, Pixy Liao, and Yvonne Osei. These artists address agency and challenge assumptions within a historically patriarchal heteronormative structure. Providing a contrast to the dominant landscape, deviations from expected gendered, cultural, or racial narratives are presented. Whether speaking from one’s experience or for an individual’s right to self determinism, each artist lends a transgressive hand to support new ways of thinking.


Lauren Frances Adams earned her BFA at UNC-Chapel Hill, and completed her MFA in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. She lives and works in Baltimore. She has exhibited at Nymans House National Trust (Sussex, England), The Walters Museum (MD), The Mattress Factory (PA), and Smack Mellon (NY). She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has held residencies at the Cite in Paris and the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil. She is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award, and a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. Her work has been reviewed in Frieze Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, Artslant, and Hyperallergic. Lauren is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a project space in New York.

Caroline Wells Chandler’s brightly colored hand-crocheted works explore notions of queerness and sexuality as well as the art historical canon. His characters are radically queer, and his representations of gender declare queerness as the normative state. Chandler completed his foundation studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and received his BFA cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 2007. He has shown at numerous institutions including: Roberto Paradise (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Lord Ludd (PA), Art League Houston (TX), Zurcher Studio (NY), Field Projects (NY), Vox Populi (PA), Sanctuary (PA), N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (MI), Open Gallery (TN), and the Stieglitz Museum (‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands) among others. Chandler is a 2011 MFA recipient in painting at the Yale School of Art where he was awarded the Ralph Mayer Prize for proficiency in materials and techniques. He lives and works in New York.

Pixy Liao was born and raised in Shanghai, China and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship in photography, En Foco’s New Works Fellowship and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc,. She has done artist residencies at Pioneer Works, Light Work, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Camera Club of New York. Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Asia Society (Houston), Flower Gallery (NY), First Draft Gallery (Sydney), VT Artsalon (Taiwan), Kips Gallery (Korea), The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space (Lebanon), Format (UK), Noorderlicht (Netherland), etc. Liao holds a MFA in photography from University of Memphis.

Yvonne Osei is a German-born Ghanaian artist living in the United States who is hyperaware of her hybridity. She describes herself as an outsider artist making insider art, referencing her West African roots while acknowledging her close to six years living in St. Louis, Missouri.

About the Project:

Anatomy of Style in New France: Louis XV/Code Noir

Printed vinyl and three individual paintings (gouache and acrylic on paper, 2014)


Project Statement:

New France was the name of the territory stretching from New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River (including parts of Kansas and Missouri) to Canada during the French colonial period (16th-18th centuries). Louis XV was the king of France during this later period, and in 1724 at the age of 13, he signed into effect the second version of the Code Noir. This ‘black code’ consolidated the French legal framework concerning slavery in North America, restricting the rights of enslaved and free blacks and outlining the religious entitlements of all French subjects. The painted texts in the wallpaper are from this regulatory decree. The pixelated objects depicted in the wallpaper are from the Nelson-Atkins Museum collection of Louis XV style furniture, objects created in a style once popular in France and roughly concurrent with this later era of French trade and settlement in Illinois Country / Upper Louisiana. Collapsing ornament and oppression, the Code Noir textual extracts combined with archival evidence of the monarchy’s finest furnishings offer an acute contrast concerning an important period in the history of Missouri.

Positioned on the background image and hanging as if slightly askew in a genuine and grand domestic space are three paintings from my ongoing series, Decorum. Decorum is an incomplete but growing index of the histories of enslaved people from antiquity to the present. Decorative and textual sources trace the complex structures that surround labor and power inequalities. My sources are frequently found in museum collections, where the museum acts as both witness and author. Archival remnants of slave narratives, ornament, and my own personal inquiries constitute an open-ended process of asking how the decorative arts participate, either actively or silently, in promoting or reflecting dominant ideologies of social hierarchy, political authority, and cultural fantasy.

Brutality Garden at Mount St. Mary’s University

Balagandan Moon, gouache on paper, 24″ x 30″, 2016

Brutality Garden is a solo exhibition by Lauren Frances Adams of recent works on paper from the Netherlands and Brazil. The works on display originate from residencies the artist made in Rotterdam and Salvador in 2015 and 2016. Investigating Dutch and Portuguese empire, as evinced in the collections of major museums (like the Mauritshuis in Den Haag and Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, as well as Museu Carlos Costa Pinto in Salvador), these paintings sample from a variety of European golden age painting in the age of colonial exploration. Images from domestic life and nature, such as tile, fruits, and birds, contrasts with the fancy fashion of enslaved Brasiliens and the porcelain of the upper classes. Subjects explored include the desirable pineapple as a colonial vector fruit, azulejos (blue tile) as a theater for dramatic political allegory, and dinnerware ornamentation of the Portuguese bourgeoisie in light of brutal provincial social hierarchies. Many of the artworks reference the cultural tension between historical colonial ambition and contemporary post-colonial reality.

The exhibition is on view from September 6 – October 6, 2016 in the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center at Mount St. Mary’s University.