Laura Christensen has developed a practice of painting on recovered vintage portraits. Also a woodworker, she constructs small shadow box frames and miniature cabinets to present the altered photographs.
She recently won her second Artists’ Resource Trust (A.R.T.) Grant, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in support of her upcoming book project,THEN AGAIN: Vintage Photography Reimagined by One Artist and Thirty Writers which was successfully funded by hundreds of fantastic backers on Kickstarter in April 2019.
Vintage photographs are both canvas and inspiration for my painting.
Like family and friends of the depicted, I pay extraordinary attention to each found photograph, yet with a different eye.
By the time I find them, the original chains of personal connection have broken. The object-ness and formal qualities are easier to see. Subjects are freed to become characters cast and costumed, players in another story that forms fresh bonds with new audiences.
Painting on each photograph cancels parts of images and conjures new illusions, symbols, and metaphors. I create a seamless image that combines past and present, photograph and painting.
Apparitions of those who posed for a camera are still visible, but transformed, and performing fresh scenes of pathos and humor. Handcrafted cabinets serve as proscenium for their stage.