graphic displays of the everyday.
My work comments on experiences in daily life — through dialogue, humor, mistakes, shapes & spaces, the way people are & constant conversation. — Kelly Lasserre
There remains a vernacular art of the cracks, spaces, and fissures of everyday life, even in the relentless online flow of digital networks and systems. Kelly Lasserre’s homemade prints, which view well online (and were featured on the gold mine of a website, Lost At E Minor), carry vital information from those spaces off the grid.
Initially, Lasserre’s prints appear innocent and playful, like some goofy Dr. Seuss-inspired sweater at a hipster craft fair, but their images and phrases stick with you. They speak in that voice inside one’s head, the one that whispers the truth even when one doesn’t want to hear it, the observation or revelation that is at once coming from somewhere else and welling up from deep within one’s core.
How Lasserre translates this voice into visual form is rather remarkable. Using the iconographies of the folkloric, the handmade, the cutesy, the antique store, the summer camp, she works with off-kilter, simple shapes, uneven, cursive letters, and one-size-does-not-fit-all organizations of the visual field. But these signals and symbols of the relic, the nostalgic, the rustic, the folksy somehow become scathing, wry, sometimes scary, and always uber-contemporary personal and social commentary. It’s as if an organic wax candle dripped with the light of a flourescent glare in an interogation room or the digital beam of a computer screen.
The apparent easy-going innocence and safety of Lasserre’s prints turns out to be haunted by insinuations of unease, intense scrutiny, concern, and vulnerability. This seems particularly the case with issues of gender and sexuality, but it applies to the broader terrain of the everyday that she investigates in her work.
These prints giggle and worry in equal turns. They express exhaustion and exhilaration, relief one moment and alarm the next. They seem filled with love, and also with a kind of gnawing pain. The iconographic form signals authenticity, domesticity, at-homeness, a comfort with the world, but the content communicates alienation and uncertainty.
Lasserre’s prints are most of all about the daily, funny, and often fraught negotiations one makes with other people, things, and activities: with friends, strangers, art-making, skylines, dishes, ice cream cones, animals, letters, language, counting, jealousy, shoes, hats, hoping, worrying, skin, hair, eyes, feet, failure, progress and — most especially — with oneself.
Images: Kelly Lasserre website