Through photography Lauren aims to capture the authentic experience of the self as it relates to a greater societal construct. While many of her photographs are self-portraits, she is not the subject, but rather a medium embodying the most private aspect of ourselves. Her self-portraits act as a mirror that encourages the viewer to behold oneself, confronting the "I" that feels the most primal and urgent, yet often deeply buried in the day to day of our urban lives.
Lauren studied photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she was born and raised. She currently lives in Silver Lake, CA, but still calls NYC home. Her work has been shown in various galleries in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
AWARDS + PRESS
2017 American Photo 33, Chosen Artist
2017 Rangefinder, Photo of the Day
2016 PDN, Photo of the Day
2016 American Photo 32, Selected Artist
2016 Voyage LA, Meet LA Photographer Feature
2016 GAL: Girls at Library, No: 13: Lauren Pisano
2015 Feature Shoot, Lauren Pisano’s Evocative Portraits Tell a Bittersweet Love Story
2015 Pilerats, A Muse is a Muse
2014 American Photo 30, Chosen Artist
2014 Feature Shoot, Junk Food Group Show
2013 Aperture/ Artspace, Meet the Artist: Lauren Pisano, Instagram Contest Winner
2013 Feature Shoot, Group Show
2017 MOPLA Converge. Space15Twenty, Los Angeles, CA
2016 Summertime Salon. Robin Rice Gallery, New York, NY
2016 MOPLA PRO'JECT LA, Part One. Leica Gallery. Los Angeles, CA
2015 Enduring Autumn. R. Hughes Gallery. Atlanta, GA
2015 Summertime Salon. Robin Rice Gallery, New York, NY
2015 Essence of Woman. Garrett Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN
2014 Water. La Maisonette Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2014 Summertime Salon. Robin Rice Gallery. New York, NY
2013 Art on the Edge. Ledges Gallery. Hawley, PA
2012 Ledgest Hotel Gallery. Hawley, PA.
2011 30 For A Cause. APK Media. New York, NY.
2011 Perpetual Dreamers. Blue House Gallery. San Francisco, CA
2010 Aie De Art Show N5. Gallery Godo. Los Angeles, CA
2009 Summertime. Robin Rice Gallery. New York, NY
2009 Mead Road Open House Exhibit. Easthampton, NY
2009 Hamptons Classic Art & Antiques Show. Bridgehampton, NY
2008 A Muse is a Muse. Kuier Plus Gallery. Brooklyn, NY
2008 Summertime. Robin Rice Gallery. New York, NY
2006 Bad Dog, Bad, Bad Dog. Visual Arts Gallery. New York, NY
2005 Mentors. Visual Arts Gallery. New York, NY
2005 Self-Portraiture. Visual Arts Gallery. New York, NY
2004 Beauty. Visual Arts Gallery. New York, NY
2004 Round Robin, School of Visual Arts. New York, NY
A Muse is A Muse
A Muse is A Muse is a series of self-portraits that are anchored in the concept that a single “decisive moment” can capture the soul of the muse. By thoughtfully pausing, investigating and recreating these vital instances, I am at once the muse, the gazing public and the artist who joins them together.
The series focuses on the unconscious actions that are part of our daily routines- mundane actions that typically go unnoticed. By pausing these quiet moments, in order to recreate them later, I mentally step away and observe myself physically. Doing this forces me to detach myself and simply become the observer. As my inquiry moves forward, the personal becomes a portrayal, an interpretation of reality.
My goal is to suggest a narrative, so that the viewer attempts to find the story behind each tableau, yet no patterns appear to suggest my true nature. At times, my gaze reaches out to the audience, while at others times they are left feeling like a voyeur, leaving the pictures behind with a sense of disappointment; their desire to “know” me unrequited.
The reenactment of original moments clearly draws on the influence of photographers Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall and Philip Lorca diCorcia. I have, however, adapted the format to suit a more personal purpose. The work is a visual path that leads us to our own private meditations on self-awareness. After all, we are all our own muses, consumed by our perceptions, our appearance and our presence in space.
See series: A Muse is A Muse
For my self-portrait series, #Lauren, I photograph my childhood nameplate necklace as my subject, allowing it to emerge from the past, possessed of a will and spirit all its own. As a teenager, the necklace’s cliché, gold scripted “Lauren” served as an assertion of my newly emerging identity, and years later, as I make steps towards forging a family of my own, it becomes a steady anchor tying me to my former self.
Paradoxically, there’s both a delicacy and a violence about the way I engage with the necklace. It wrestles with me, cuts into skin, pulls my body this way and that before becoming merely a shadow reflected on my limbs. In one frame, I am holding it my hands; in the next, it falls just out of reach. The necklace, it seems, is no longer my own, but even as it slips away, I hold fast to its memory.
The title of the series, #Lauren, is inspired by the prevalence of “selfies.” As a self-portraitist and storyteller, I have always used photography to probe inwards. Photographing myself was once an intimate rite, but as the landscape of photography shifts, what was once private domain, exists in the world so openly and abundantly.
In this way, the “Lauren” necklace also becomes a metaphor for photography itself. Both the necklace and self-portraiture once helped to define who I was, but they have since become unreliable, unhinged, and precarious.
#Lauren is an ode to the past, but it’s also about our perpetual obsession with possessing ourselves. As we age, our sense of self disintegrates and coalescences many times over, and still we have the need to hold onto something concrete and everlasting, perhaps even an object as seemingly banal as an old piece of jewelry.
I, Lauren, will metamorphose again and again, but the necklace will remain fixed, spelling out all the things I once was.
These photographs are of my mother’s first apartment in Queens, N.Y. This apartment is located in the basement of a two family house; my Uncle Bill and his family live upstairs. My mother moved in when she was twenty, after she married my father. I was raised in this apartment, and lived there until I was ten, with my father, my uncle Ted (who is fourteen years older than me) and my brother (one year older). After my Uncle Bill got divorced, my family moved upstairs and Uncle Bill moved downstairs alone. During my senior year in high school my Uncle Ted married and moved out, and we moved to a suburb in North Carolina. A close friend of my mothers (recently divorced) moved into the basement and my Uncle Bill remarried and moved back upstairs. After a few years in North Carolina, my parents divorced and shortly after, my mother moved back into the basement apartment with my brother, where they are living now.
These interiors are layered with familiarity, disguise and defeat. I have seen, or imagined, them as backgrounds in childhood memories and photographs, and now dressed up in fruit and Norman Rockwell images. My mother has worked on these decorations, whether by piecing together puzzles to later frame, or by cutting and pasting leftover pieces of the kitchen border. Just as these are reproductions that have lost their originals, my mother is decorating a home that has done the same. These walls have been present throughout my mother’s life, and by photographing them, I am acknowledging their presence, as well as implying my mother’s presence within them. These walls are similar to early Laurie Simmons sets of the female doll in the kitchen, In and around the House 1976-1978, with the doll removed and the sets not being mine, but my mothers.
These corners, walls and pictures function less as decoration and more as distractions, attempting to decorate a place few people even go. Just as Catherine Wagner has done in her series, Homes and other Stories, I invite a viewer to see my mother’s taste as well as come to some conclusion as to what kind of personality she has. As Bourdiu states in, Distinction, “Taste classifies and it classifies the classifier.” These judgments are based on what kind of history each viewer has with certain objects and their ideas about how they are intended to function. I photograph these interiors not only to consider how we define ourselves through our choices of decoration (as Wagner), but also to acknowledge the emptiness that can be so evident through our aesthetic disposition. The huge landscape hanging in the living room that used to double as my parents bedroom. Growing up, there was a mirror there, now a painting of what my mother always dreamt would be reflected. Cut outs of fresh fruit, hardly doing anything but drawing attention to a bruised wall. I am not only showing others, but also proving to myself that my aesthetic is trapped within the world my mother cuts and paste in. By photographing these interiors I am embracing the myth, for my mother, but drawing attention to the sad truth of her futility.
We have seen the strangeness of suburbia through Gregory Crewdson, and because of Desperate Housewives everyone has acknowledges that what goes on behind closed doors isn’t the ideal Post WWII suburbia had hoped. There has been attention paid to the action of husbands and wives cheating with gardeners, but none to the overall sadness and emptiness that is left when the excitement is over. The desperate housewife rebelling against the norm of constant toleration, being left right where she started, over 20 years later, piecing together Norman Rockwell puzzles, living with a man that is not her husband, but her son.
See series: Mom's House
I am good friends with Terra and Lua, and I have watched Lua grow over the past two years. Even with their warm and inviting nature, I was still mostly just a voyeur, existing outside their bubble of knowing glances, scheduled needs and telling cries. It was as if I was watching a documentary about animals in the wild - I knew there was a certain order in play, but one that is not immediately obvious to the untrained eye. I was a witness to only a brief moment of their life long story, but it is a familiar one. Whether it be because of my experiences, stories I've heard, or a life I have imagined, I am both Terra and Lua.
The story isn't simply about day-to-day actions or sweet mother daughter exchanges, it's about a team that moves in unison, each action being a reaction to one another. They flow together, gathering a density as time goes on. Everything that is experienced and learned will allow Lua to eventually step away from Terra, with these memories giving her confidence, and providing her with a feeling of safety that comes from knowing her mothers love. I want these images to be a catalyst for others to grab on to their memories, and visit this sacred, safe place. A time that is so unique and fleeting, and often goes unnoticed, or spoken about only as an underlying thread to a larger, usually more tumultuous, story of motherhood.
I feel honored that Terra and Lua allowed me into their life to be a witness to their adventures, and to really see the depth of love and thick, rich, gooeyness that can exist between two people. That thing that can be seen without it being shown to you, you just know it when it's there.
See series: Terra&Lua