Growing up in suburban Los Angeles where earthquakes and fires were frequent threats, Lauren Szabo became acquainted with natural and unnatural disasters at an early age. When she was a child, she experienced earthquakes and recalls ashen skies during the annual summer fires. These early memories shaped the content of her art, and have rooted her interest in deconstruction.
Szabo is an Oakland based artist that has been working with the medium of oil paint for over 20 years. Her recent paintings are composed of man-made objects in the process of being reclaimed by nature. Her subjects are always in an un-restored state, and include paper billboards, neon signs, and incandescent bulb signs. These advertisements have been decayed by the elements. Once containing messages of perfectionism, a dilapidated advertisement is now itself flawed in societal terms.
Advertisements nearly always promise a perfect, static, and ultimately false outcome, but by depicting such signs in a state of decay, she reveals the true, aging reality of all objects (and beings)—flawed but arguably more beautiful. These signs are becoming more rare as we continue to move forward in the digital age. She wishes to elevate these overlooked locations and cultural relics into icons with the intention of stimulating dialogue about our societal priorities.
Lauren’s process begins with researching locations that are on the dynamic border between mankind’s material creations and the forces of nature. She then embarks on expeditions to study each locale firsthand, documenting her experience with photographs and writings. Upon returning to her studio, she uses these materials to re-enliven various impressions, which she then combines into a single work of art.
Her work nests within a contemporary landscape that delicately blends realism with a unique creative interpretation. She is an advocate for skill-based representational art that addresses current issues in American culture and beyond. Szabo’s intention is to represent a voice while examining social, economic, and environmental issues. She considers her work to be part of a generation that shares a collective consciousness of reevaluating the way that humans interact with the environment and each other as our hybrid landscape progresses.