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Featuring Matthew Baird and Tina Lauzon
A Spaceworks Tacoma Project by Jennifer Preston Chushcoff
Matthew Baird's large-scale paper collages behave like sculptures. Using maps, directories and patterned paper, he must keep in mind that the collage will be seen on two sides and that each piece has a distinct translucency. This element allows him to create patterns of light, which he also builds into the negative spaces he carves. His meticulous collages can take weeks to years to complete.
These "stained glass" collages function best when hung in a window where light can pass through them, activating them in multiple dimensions. As they hang in sunlit windows, the light that passes through constantly changes, creating what feels like a living, breathing work of art. It is art that evolves, seen anew in each moment.
Baird describes his art-making as play and escape. The designs mesmerize viewers. His kaleidoscopic visions invite you to get lost in shapes, textures and patterns. Though Baird's work is large (some are 3' wide by 4' feet tall) every inch is attended to as viewers explore small hand-drawn and colored details.
Tina Lauzon's 12 exquisitely sculpted torsos reveal a personal timeline through history. Lauzon shapes her subjective experience and emotion, creating a physical presence. The story they tell is a representation of fear, pain, survival and redemption.
Each sculpture acts as a visual guide to internal anguish and ecstasy. One torso reveals butterflies emerging. Another depicts a snarling dog-like beast erupting from the chest. Anonymous hands grasp flesh. A body blossoms into flowers while another sparkles with thousands of hand-set rhinestones. All of her materials are carefully chosen. From melted records to strips of leather to ash, each build upon her message.
Lauzon's work is not just a therapeutic way to explore her life. It lights a way for others to move forward through their own grief and inner turmoil. By creating these works, she offers a voice for other survivors of violence. Perhaps, most importantly, she shows that we can transcend fear or bitterness.
Lauzon pairs each of her powerful sculptures with a carefully crafted poem. They work in harmony with each other and help the viewer experience the entire work on a deeper level. Lauzon has also recorded herself reading each poem adding a further dimension to experience. The recordings are available to listen to below.
Matthew Baird's and Tina Lauzon's artwork illuminate, sparking wonder, opening perspectives and offering a new view into someone else's experience. I hope you enjoy getting lost and wandering for a bit inside Baird's collages and contemplating Lauzon's sculptures while they are available to view in person. They will be shown together in the Woolworth Window at Commerce and 11th in downtown Tacoma, WA through June 2021. Check back often as the display will change to rotate through all of Baird's collages.
About the Artist
Matthew Baird is a self-taught visual artist currently living and working in his hometown of Decatur, IL. For enjoyment he likes to wander in forests and haunt old bookstores and libraries. Each night he clears his mind of all thoughts and imagery and disappears into the Primordial Void. This and other ancient Buddhist and Taoist practices casually inform his life and art.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
For me, art-making is not about language. It is not about concepts, personality, history, society, psychology, memory, none of that. It is pure play. Simple creation/manipulation of shapes, colors, patterns, textures, and light effects. I have this perpetual sense that my world is already oversaturated with the above-mentioned elements and art-making is a refuge from that. Some might call it escapist or childish and I would not disagree. My process is very slow and thorough. It often takes at least ten years for me to feel that a piece is truly finished. After the basics of a piece are in place, I put it away in storage and forget about it. When I return to it, I see new ways to go about it. I do so, and then return it to storage, until its turn comes around again. In the meantime, there are other pieces to attend to, at all different points in the cycle. In this staggered manner, I am gradually developing a lifetime's body of work, much of which I am certain will never be finished. The pieces in this particular exhibition are at various levels of completion. In keeping with my art's non-relation to language and concepts, none of the pieces have titles. However, viewers are welcome to provide them if they wish.
I AM TINA: A Journey to Healing
About the Artist
Tina “Journey” Lauzon is a former business executive having launched several businesses. She is a survivor of over forty years of abuse and is on a mission to share the struggle to healing and self love. Her mantra is “Never give up, never”. She is an advocate for the end of human trafficking and the suffering from verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Tina continues to write and create through a variety of mediums.
I AM TINA
The Journey of Healing
I should be dead. I’m not.
I should hate God. I don’t.
I should be in a mental institution. I’m not.
I should be suicidal. I’m not.
I should be a pessimist. I’m not.
I should have borderline personality disorder. I don’t.
I should question the human race. I don’t.
I should have split personalities. I don’t.
I shouldn’t have hope. I do.
I shouldn’t want to have relationships with other human beings. I do.
I shouldn’t be excited about my future. I AM!
The world does not define me although it would like to.
The only thing that defines me is the life I’ve lived, how I received it, processed it and responded and where I put my hope.
My hope and my faith come from God. It really is as simple and grandiose as that.
I AM TINA
Welcome to my journey.
SUPPORT A LOCAL AUTHOR
To Read Tina "Journey" Lauzon's Journals, CLICK HERE
Warning: The journals contain recollections of sexual abuse and trauma.
The Poems - Audio Recordings
HOW THE SCULPTURES WERE MADE
The base is a shell made of plaster and mesh gauze. The bust is stabilized by 3x1 cross member wood elements to support the weight of materials on the bust. Approximately 36” x 24”.
The Protector is made up of varying images of me throughout my life at differing stages of abuse. This bust was particularly hard to create. Each image can have many memories of abuse associated to it. I created this bust as a reminder of how careful the mind is. I wasn’t ready to remember my painful past until I was strong enough and in therapy. I wanted the sides to surround the bust with metal. I couldn’t use metal at the time, so I used a plastic flexible board to bring in the sides and painted it to look like metal. There is a metal mesh over the top and metal buttons to hold the images in place. The screws are for the effect of screwing things into me to hold me together. There is also metal across the bust in the middle to secure the metal mesh.
The Escape is made up of melted records of music I would listen to as a child to escape the daily abuse. The base is a black acrylic blend. The large headphones are real as well as the cording around the bust simulating every way music held me together.
The Unraveling has a complete base of mirror. Leather pieces engulf the bust to hold it together with a special emphasis of ripped leather straps falling from the neck.
Tsunami is completely created from clay. It is heavy in many ways. To create the waves I used layers of plastic to support the clay as it dried then formed pieces of clay to the bust. It is painted with acrylic and covered with a protective shine gloss to emphasize the look of water.
All The People is created with layers of plaster and mesh. The hands and wrists are hollow and black inside for obvious reasons. I placed mesh and plaster over my left hand and held it together until slightly dry the expanded the fingers and wrists to resemble a man’s hands and arms. It is painted with acrylic paint blends and highlighted with coal.
The Irrelevance is created from ash. Simply put, during an exceedingly difficult time in therapy, I gathered all of my abuser photographs, including my mom, and burned them to a crisp. Very therapeutic process for me. The bust is glue-encased with the ashes of those abusers. It is coated with a dull protective polyurethane.
The Gathering was created during a therapy process called “Lifespan Integration”. The process of this intense but needed therapy took 9-months. There are two large butterflies created from clay representing my first integration of two very young ego states. The smaller butterflies are a blend of plastic and wired to the bust for a more intense 3D effect for flying. They are painted with various blends of acrylic.
The Pack is another image of “Lifespan Integration” therapy. This is much deeper with many ego states represented. If I could have filled it with hundreds of images I would but alas, no space. The main wolf, in the center, is a mask I crafted to fit the bust and painted to blend in. The smaller wolves were created with the same mesh/plaster. They are delicate and each attached separately. I painted with acrylics and used some molding to blend.
Psalm 91 was created with wedding ribbon overlaid and woven together. Metal screws are tied between each weave to highlight strength. It is painted with silver acrylic paint and glazed with polyurethane. The neck sign is a plastic chain with a lightweight Styrofoam sign engraved with Bible heading PS 91.
The Wailing Wall is just that. I created hand crafted red clay bricks for the busts. I textured and dried them for a historic and weathered/broken look. It is painted with acrylic and written with pencil and coal. It is sprayed with polyurethane for protection and overlayed with scrolls with the same “Help Me” message.
The Secret Garden is comprised of various fake foliage with secret messages of my learning inscribed on the leaves. There is a baby under the yellow flower representing growth. It is painted with acrylic paints.
The Reflection of Light is created from hundreds of crystals from Czech Republic. Each one placed strategically with tweezers. The crystals are a special cut as light hits them they release rainbows around the room.
Tina "Journey" Lauzon