Lauryn Welch

Since childhood I have been fascinated by the emotional tug of color and pattern. Often I am thinking about how color and pattern on the body can form the conception and expression of one’s identity, as it is perceived by the self and by others. This became my primary focus after I spent an entire year as a Red “monochromat.” Every aesthetic part of my life that had an immediate presence was replaced or altered to be Red. For a time, even the food I ate fell under this restriction. But soon the elements of my life that I perceived to be non-aesthetic such as my personality and mode of thought were also consumed by the whirlwind of connotations and assumptions that people have about color. I began to perform Red as a character. In this process, I made a key observation that when one interacts with other people and environments, one unconsciously assumes parts of their identities and characteristics, be it their accent or values or emotional tone.

We are all in a fluid state of adaptation. This observation led me to ask thousands of other questions through painting, performance, optical science, textiles, and photography. How does one define one’s sense of self? What do we sacrifice in ourselves to make connections with others? Is there such a thing as loss of self or found? At what point does figuration become abstraction? I identify with artists such as David Bowie and Cindy Sherman who deal with issues of evolving identity through performance. Approaching patterning and camouflage from a variety of practices has given me a nuanced understanding of how mimicry and adaptation are used in contemporary culture, as well as an awareness of how I personally use these tools to maneuver my way through life as a young adult.

-Lauryn Welch