Lauren Seiden works exclusively in graphite, testing the boundaries of the medium and challenging the preconceptions surrounding it. For Seiden, graphite is at the core of every artist's studio practice and is therefore embedded into art history. Through her increasingly sculptural creations, Seiden transforms the way graphite is presented and perceived through manipulating the medium and, most recently, combining it with new materials to create something entirely new. In this way, she challenges the notion of 'drawing.'
Born in 1981 in New York City, Seiden received her BA in Painting and Drawing from Bennington College in Vermont in 2003. Though trained as a painter, for the last eight years she has worked exclusively with graphite. The transition was gradual, beginning with the realisation that gesture and line were what captivated her most in her works. From there, she began drawing and soon transitioned into the abstract wall-hanging sculptures she is known for today.
Her works are a mediation on materiality and process. Seiden admits that she lets the sculptural form of the paper, once manipulated, guide her application of the graphite. Of her work she has said "I know a work is complete once it has its own presence without further interruption from my hand." Seiden embraces the moments when the material reacts to her manipulations of its own accord. For the artist, a tear in the paper indicates a manifestation of the natural state of the medium and is a confirmation of the authenticity of the work.
The creation of her work is physically demanding, requiring the artist to spend hours covering a surface by hand with graphite strokes and using her fingers to push the graphite particles into the pores of the material she is working with in order into meld them together. The scale of the works, often the height of an average person or larger, is monumental. Their large expanse seems to be limitless, much like the graphite itself whose transformations knows no bounds in Seiden's hands. In the last two years, Seiden has developed a new body of work by applying graphite to unexpected surfaces such as thread, marble, liquid and metal.
Since 2014, she has had five solo-exhibitions including at the Denny Gallery in New York, the Mattatuck Museum in Connecticut and most recently at the Lyes and King Gallery in New York and Gallery Nosco in France. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Deutsche Bank Collection, the J. Crew Collection, the Luciano Benetton Collection, and the JoAnn Gonzalez Hickey Collection as well as several domestic and international private collections.
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