Lara Schnitger’s fabric constructions sit uneasily as both sculpture and costume design; her figurative forms create grating parody caricatures of the most unsavoury types. I Want Kids lures with cuddly toy seduction, a goofy three legged monster decked out in Oshkosh B’Gosh plaid, its big hairy ‘slingshot’ dangling with Jolly Jumper enthusiasm. Outrageously perverse, Schnitger’s sculpture doesn’t downplay the morbidity of paedophilia, but rather questions the too-easy public perception of predators. In Brass Eye style, Schnitger addresses our darkest fears and taboos, using wry humour to expose a lurking reality.
Swathed in black with fuzzy face and dangling dreads, Lara Schnitger’s Grim Boy is the epitome of skulking teenager: grody, rank, and insipid. Draping fabric over a wooden frame base, Schnitger perfectly captures the awkwardness of physical development, disproportioned and gangly, torso bugling with the remnants of puppy fat, head thrust forward in a spit of aggression. Her jostling laugh at pubescent boorishness turns quickly to horror. In the light of Columbine, and the recent spate of goth gang murders and suicides, adolescent angst poses as real threat, a demon seed bread from cultural anxiety.
Using craft media, Lara Schnitger’s portrayals of cultural stereotypes are constructed as homespun ‘truths’, made more ’endearing’ and identifiable through their beguiling materials. Standing as aggrandised puppets, her figures are abstracted exaggerations confronting preconceptions and prejudices. Lost Hippie lumbers as a lumpy elephant of obsolescence, a virtual caravan of faded patchwork and love-bead nostalgia. An effigy of bygone innocent and idealism, Lost Hippie is met with satirical contempt and suspicion.
Working in domestic arts, Lara Schnitger’s knitted and sewn sculptures create a quirky brand of feminism. Swaddled in a patchwork of remnant fabrics, Tickler-Stick offers a dubious promiscuity. Stretching and bulging around its internal wood frame, Schnitger’s abstraction seduces with homespun tactility. Dressed up in feminine frills and alluring see-through lace, Tickler-Stick gives a weird corporeality to formalist design, suggesting something deeply naughty in traditional granny-craft.
Lara Schnitger’s 126 Inches of Fun towers as an Amazonian monument: pink, sexy, and larger than life. Stretched around a wooden support, lengths of silky fabric and black lace trestle an invisible bulking form like a ridiculously contrived girdle or fashion-disaster evening gown. Emblazoned with suggestive text Schnitger’s sculpture is an icon of feminine celebration, its diva-esque architecture posing as a bulwark of womanly wiles.