Wilmington, Del. (November 30, 2023) – The Delaware Division of the Arts’ Mezzanine Gallery presents 2023 Artist Fellow Lauren E. Peters’ exhibition, “Art Monster,” on view between December 1-29, 2023. Guests are invited to attend a Meet-the-Artist Reception on Friday, December 1 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Lauren E. Peters is a visual artist working with the concepts of identity and gender through self-portraiture. “Self-portraiture came to me by way of a painting by Chantal Joffe, a female figure in a drippy red dress whose identity was both obscured and attempting to assert herself,” says Peters.
The artist started changing her appearance using wigs and costumes as armor, projection, mirage. She created source photos by taking selfies with her cell phone and used them as the base material upon which she adds and subtracts layers of meaning. She hopes that the oil paintings join the legacy of portraits trying to stake a claim in existence, “I am running full force, smashing my body into my own stories and a shared history to see what sticks.”
The theme for this show was inspired by Peters’ recent reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and builds on the term “art monster” penned by Jenny Offill. In this series of paintings, Peters explores identity, societal pressures, and transcending conformity as ways to free herself and become her own creature. Peters says, “Choose your own adventure. We are both Frankenstein and monster. Creator. Created.”
Peters began painting self-portraits for a small exhibit in 2016 after an extended hiatus from painting. She continued to develop this body of work and in 2018 was awarded the Delaware Individual Artist Fellowship in painting for her self-portraiture.
In 2021, Peters curated a group exhibition, “Appearances,” at The Delaware Contemporary with 16 other artists creating a piece based on an early self-portrait. She saw the public installation of her portrait of “Wilma,” the namesake of a new restaurant/bowling alley in downtown Wilmington. In 2022 Peters attended the Soaring Gardens Residency and will attend a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in the spring of 2024.
Peters is currently the recipient of the 2023 Established Fellowship in Painting from the Delaware Division of the Arts. She lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware.
The Mezzanine Gallery, open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is located on the second floor of the Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, Wilmington.
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