Laurel E. Sparks

Gallery Affiliations: Howard Yezerski Gallery

Region: Northeast

Painting can be hedonistic. My paintings combine the ornate flatness of fin-de-siècle modernism with the gestural wildness of early Abstract Expressionism. Queer and psychedelic cinema informs my theatrical iconography, generating an aesthetic of decadent artifice.

Androgynous iconoclasts, from Luisa Casati to Ziggy Stardust, act as muses for abstract portraits of glamour and decay. Alluding to these glamorous figures, linear silhouettes of Venetian chandeliers and perverse Christmas trees are layered with ambidextrous blind contour drawings. Icons take shape and dissolve within a carnival of cosmetic smears, dissonant color, glitter, and bejeweled protrusions.

Intense gestures celebrate baroque theatricality, costume, and persona. At the same time, raw emptiness contradicts excessive adornment. Within each work there is a painterly call and response between poured white marble dust, bare canvas and decorative pattern. The surfaces oscillate between elegance and vulgarity. Pleasure, elegy, and irreverence co-exist in these paintings like the complex characters of the muses they invoke.