LOS ANGELES, May 1, 2010 / FW/ — After a highly successful run in New York, Greg Lauren debuted his acclaimed installation, “Alteration, Works on Paper” in Los Angeles with a very intimate cocktail party Wednesday night.
Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Elizabeth Berkley, Minnie Driver, Erin Daniels, Magda Berliner, Lousie Roe, Amanda Luttrell-Garrigus among others, examined the approximately 40 sculptures of iconic men’s clothing, meticulously hand-sewn from Japanese paper created by Greg Lauren.
At first sight, the works on paper look like a vast array of actual garments; some old and worn while others new and untouched. Through a meticulous, detail-oriented process, Lauren hand sews Japanese paper into true-to-scale uniforms, suits, shirts, boots and other accessories.
Using palette of ebony, burnt amber and white oil paint, Lauren creates monochromatic hues of blacks in a sea of sepia toned “fabrics” that spill out across the gallery.
With the artisanal approach of the master designer, tailor, seamstress and shoemaker, Lauren manipulates his medium to simulate various materials (i.e. wool, cotton, gabardine), frayed edges, creases, wrinkles and folds. Ironically and intentionally, his paper garments cannot and have not been worn, they are not “real” and they do not have the ability to host one’s image or ego.
From this visual language, learned through creating the works on paper, came a need to create actual jackets which form the other part of the exhibition and deliver an imperfect, true, literal expression of the artist’s evolving identity.
Part artwork, part journal, part design some of these jackets are made of traditional artist materials such as canvas and drop cloth, while others come from classic fabrics such as pinstripes and gray flannels. The end result of all these garments together is a seductive yet eerie, black and white world of nearly perfected paper clothes which leads to flawed, real garments that look animated on their own: full of life while uninhibited.
Each piece serves as a “portrait” where the artist confronts complex facts and ideas about inherited ideals, aspirations, dreams and the challenges one faces in building individual identity. He explores the love/hate relationship with clothing and all that it can symbolize.
Lauren clearly states, “I was taught to dress like Cary Grant and JFK, but actually felt more like Charlie Chaplin or Oliver Twist.” This exhibition is an attempt to manifest the feelings and the facts by embracing the awkward pain and sadness of being taught to play a definitive role set up by others, only to realize the sacrificial cost is not the final option. With this confrontational awareness, comes a realization of the intricate fabric of one’s own image and a world of one’s own making.
For the Los Angeles exhibition, Lauren projects a personal tribute through a “Suit Screen” a re-edited loop of Cary Grant in “To Catch A Thief” upon 10 white paper suits; exploring the way clothing acts as a screen to project our aspirations. The movie epitomizes the ultimate world to aspire to, the lifestyle, the clothing, the lives and the fairy tale.
With “Sleeves,” Lauren fills a commercial shopping cart, with approximately 30 paper sleeves from various types of jackets, addressing the consumption and disposable nature of image.
Furthermore, Lauren has increased the wearable aspect of the installation with a focus more on commerce and the tangible, rather than his own emotional voice. The one-of-a-kind garments showcase design elements reminiscent of ready-to-wear: an asymmetrical silhouette, an embroidered symbol, and the shape of a hand torn pocket.
Handmade and constructed under the same artistic spirit these subtle nuances represent the inner-workings of a cohesive and decisive step in Lauren exploring his designer sensibility.
Born and raised in New York City, Greg Lauren currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Lauren received his B.A. in Art History at Princeton University in 1991. His work was recently featured at Neuhoff/Edelman Gallery, NYC and at DACRA in Miami.
Greg Lauren’s, Alteration, will be on view, on Wednesday April 28th – May 23 from 11- 6 PM and by appointment at 8933 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048