Much of my focus has been on the awkward body, and I am always curious to explore what enactment and exaggeration can bring to bear on the slightly uncomfortable dialectic between intimacy and anonymity, movement and stasis, belonging and alienation. Through installation, movement-based works, photography, and drawing, my past work has revolved around developing characters that possess an inner life of hopes and fears, wonder and mischief, even though they inhabit the world as unheroic and often disorderly presences—those “late for a very important date” types, who aim to pull it all together but most of the time don’t quite manage: a Buster Keaton, but from a feminist perspective.
Currently, I am exploring the idea of choreographic thinking, and as is usual for me, I am trying to link two disparate fields or ideas—that of visual arts—and that of dance and the atricality (specifically choreography and staging). Inspirations include Pina Bausch, Jacques Tati, dance theory, and the writing of Erin Manning, among others. While I base my work in the body, it may not always explicitly picture a body: the same goes with gender. While feminist art practice informs my work, I may not produce work that “looks” feminist. Themes of fatigue, pain, restricted movement, anti-visuality, the score, and the stutter also inform my interest in embodiment, which I address through objects, marks, and temporary structures. The Luminous Bodies Residency would be used to generate new work and new thinking in these areas with the support of others who are interested in testing what a body can be or do, and what happens when you spend an immersive period tweaking, staging, experimenting, embracing or ignoring bodily limitations. My studio output might lead to drawings, maquettes, projections, or choreographic scores, or installation-based piece s with common materials such as string and paper. I hope to give more substantial material form to theoretical ideas that I have only peripherally tested, but I have not had sustained time to translate these ideas into a deeper studio practice.
Lauren O’Neal is an artist, arts administrator and arts educator. She has exhibited her artwork at the Portland Museum of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art, the Attleboro Arts Museum, and Purdue University, and has been a recipient of grants and residencies from the Somerville Arts Council and the Nelimarkka Museum. O’Neal received her MFA from Maine College of Art, and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She is currently pursuing doctoral research at Kuvataideakatemia in Helsinki, Finland.