Laurence Jansen: Barreiro

Laurence Jansen

Artwork’s Title: Barreiro

Materials Used: Oil on canvas

Studio based: London, UK

Laurence Jansen, Barreiro, 2022, oil on canvas, 270 x 196 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

My objective is often to combine my own personal experiences using memory, life drawing experimentations and personal photographic field studies, in conjunction with media and internet sourced material. Preliminary works may involve line drawings, collage and paint experiments. I begin the final piece with a layer of mark making and loose painting techniques in order to lay down an abstract foundation on which the composition and narrative can develop in an organic way.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Fragmentation, Vulnerability, Interconnectedness.

Could you share with us some insights on your painting “Barreiro”, (2022)? Is there any particular story behind this new work?

This work was created while I was taking part in the PADA Residency in Barreiro, Portugal. It juxtaposes periods of decorative architectural design, commercial modernism, industrial concrete carcasses, and chemical decay found within the post-industrial landscape of Barreiro. These architectural references follow a trajectory towards the future, as the ‘stepping stones’ reference sustainable design of carbon sequestering residential eco-towers. The timeline of this work plays with nostalgia and positive premonitions towards building the future, with a bit of sci-fi time travel and accelerationism ‘sprinkled on top’. 

You have just been presenting some new works at Galerie Dida in Ivory Coast. Could you talk about your new works that you have been showing?

I took part in a two month residency with the gallery where I was working alongside a selection of West African artists. The studio was situated in Grand-Bassam between a lagoon and the sea front. This part of the town is a very creative place full of artisans and makers of all kinds. Large crowds of local people gather on the beach at weekends with games, horseback rides and drumming circles. The Work that I created during the residency was influenced by the energy of the beachside and also conversations that I had with locals about the history and the development taking place in Bassam. 

The work that I recently exhibited with the gallery in a solo show depicts the relationship between architectural landscape and the figurative form. This helps me to explore and render abstract narratives of how our environment affects the psychological and physical state of being.   

Last year you also participated in the Pada Residency in Portugal; how was your experience there?

The Pada Residency was great in many ways and it had a well organised programme! The studios are huge so my painting took advantage of this. The local industrial museums and the dilapidated wasteland that is five minutes walk from the residency inspired me to incorporate a history of industrial architecture into my work. 

How does it feel to present your work globally and collaborate with different cultures and environments?

Exhibiting internationally has helped me connect and bond with many people that I can now call friends and peers. It also highlights how we all look at the world through a different lens, so the intimate conversations that we can have around the work are a very important aspect of the making process.

Are specific artworks created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process?

Vibrant movement of paint and symbolic gesture has become an important element to my work. I often begin a painting from an abstract perspective, yet with a project and a selection of related images in mind. Working with what the paint suggests to me step by step, whilst layering patterns with a wide brush provides me with an initial chaotic and abstract foundation. This offers unpredictable circumstances to work around and adds to the problem solving aspect of creating a painting. As I explore the shapes and mood of the work I continue to look through my project folders that contain images and topics of interest, to see how I can develop the narrative further. 

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

A collaboration with my favourite artists, that includes all of our work overlapping in an interactive and performative exhibition in the style of an ‘Assume Vivid Astro Focus’ show would be fun. 

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Jim Shaw, Daniel Richter, Wangechi Mutu, Matthias Weischer, Sarah Sze, Luiz Zerbini, Albert Oehlen, Bernard Frize, Lee Bontecou  

What about the place where you work? What does your studio space look like?

I’m currently studying at the RCA in Battersea, London so I have moved my studio there to be as present as possible during this Painting MA. Usually however I would be working from home in a shared studio space at our live/work warehouse in Haringey. There has been a history of painters living in this warehouse and we try to continue the tradition, as a trail of paintings are left behind on the walls.

What are your plans for the near future?

Near future plans include creating the best final year show that I can at the RCA whilst also taking time to collaborate with my peers on the course. I have a few bodies of work ready to exhibit, it’s just a case of working out when, where and how.

Additional Paintings

Laurence Jansen, The Triumph of Togetherness, 2021, oil on canvas, 118 x 150 cm
Laurence Jansen, Sunset Drive, 2022, oil on canvas, 111 x 83 cm
Laurence Jansen, Future Realms of Collective Imagination, 2021, oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm
Laurence Jansen, Table Top Exercise, (TTX), 2022, oil on linen, 140 x 160 cm


All images courtesy of the artist

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