Gracelee Lawrence recently returned to the US after 15 months as a Visiting Artist in the Multidisciplinary Department of Art at Chiang Mai University in Thailand on a 2016-17 Luce Scholars Fellowship. She completed her MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 and graduated from Guilford College as a Principled Problem Solving Scholar with an honors degree in Sculpture. She is a co-founder of Pig & Pony, founder of the Virtual Studio Visit Network, co-founder of Mesa Fronteriza, a contributing writer for the International Sculpture Center Blog and a member of the collective Material Girls. In 2017 she had three solo exhibitions across the globe and curated a group exhibition, To Meet in the Clouds, in Thailand. Gracelee is a 2016-17 Luce Scholars Fellow, a recipient of the 2015 UMLAUF Prize, 2013 Eyes Got It Prize, and the 2011-12 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant. She is an artist, writer, cook, traveler, macramé enthusiast, lifelong horsewoman, and Bagel Babe.
The wall sculptures, drawings, and video draw from her time living in Asia by utilizing imagery and objects related to food systems, beauty standards, and emotional affect of technology in our quickly globalizing world. Lawrence’s new work scrutinizes the cultural relativity of the gaze and the ways in which bodies are gendered and moralized in relation to food, tradition, and contemporary expectations proliferated by the constantly fluctuating images swirling in digital space.
ABOUT THE WORK
For the digitally tethered, life is at the intersection of the virtual and the physical. Experience is continually tempered through a stream of simultaneous meta-interactions, archives, extensions, and reflections of ‘experienced’ reality.
The truncated and disembodied limbs, fruits, and food packaging parallel the fragmentation and compartmentalization encouraged in digital space by questioning literal and metaphorical touch, or even the sensation of closeness, between bodies. This work looks at the ways in which bodies are both gendered and metaphorically fragmented in terms of the linguistic and image-based correspondence between capitalist-driven material desires, physical sustenance, and the digital spaces we inhabit. Trained to process and refine fragments of the digital world, we recombine them into an almost infinite number of configurations in order to create the semblance of a whole.
This work also fights to become whole through the translation and recombination of the digital and physical, the sculptures relying equally on digital fabrication and hand augmentation. They are the consequence of the separation between the digital and objectness as a marriage of the two, a smoothed glimpse into the messy space between human touch and perception.