ARTIST OF THE WEEK 177: LAURA BUCKLEY
February 2012, by Skye Sherwin, The Guardian
Stepping into one of Laura Buckley's installations is a disorienting experience: her fusions of sounds, images and objects seem to turn our thoughts inside out. The video footage is invariably humdrum: hopping sparrows, a reddish sun filmed from a train window, kids at the beach, an escalator ride. But beamed from projectors in low-lit rooms on to spinning Perspex or mirrored shapes, the familiar imagery refracts into dizzying constellations. The world spins and splinters, falling in and out of step with soundtracks where plucked strings and snatches of conversation melt into hard, industrial hums and static.
The Galway-born, London-based artist started out as a painter, and has described her work as painting with light. As a student in the early 2000s, Buckley began shredding paintings of the reflections in puddles and creating sculptural installations by painting on MDF and rolls of wallpaper. Keen to escape the bounds of the canvas and bring the outside world into her work, it was an organic progression to move on to mirrors and film. Much of what she shoots is ad hoc, and her installations fuse the dazzling perceptual play of Olafur Eliasson or James Turrell's environments with photographer Wolfgang Tillmans's grungier style. Her distorted melodies, inspired by experimental musicians from My Bloody Valentine to John Cage, are similarly crafted from what she picks up around her.
Buckley's current installation, Fata Morgana, is a walk-in kaleidoscope: a giant, hexagonal tunnel with whirling mirrored walls and thrumming noise. Frenzied and enchanting by turns, images of everything from glittery fairy dolls to barbed wire dances to a strange music ‚Äď where children's laughter, traffic and strings come together in lulling harmonies.
It feels like Buckley has taken what happens in our heads ‚Äď that hazy muddle of fleeting thoughts and memories, background noise and half-caught sensory impressions ‚Äď and cast it in three dimensions.
Why we like her: For her 2010 installation Waterlilies. Buckley's beguiling vision of pond life features wires snaking across the floor around discs made of Perspex and mirror, which gently rotate like fat lilypads. Video footage and lights ripple watery reflections on the walls, while the sounds of piano tinkling, water dripping and fragments of conversation conjure liquid everyday experience.
Child's Play: Buckley was first switched on to video when she bought a camera to film her baby daughter. "Becoming a mother made me less self-conscious and opened me up to allowing a lot more colour and feeling into my work," she says.
Where can I see her? Fata Morgana is at Cell Project Space, London to 26 February. The closing event on 25 February features a collaborative performance with Andy Spence from the band New Young Pony Club.
CONVERSE SHORTLIST: LAURA BUCKLEY
Jan 2011, by William Oliver, Dazed Digital
Laura Buckley, the penultimate in our series of six interviews with the short listed Converse/Dazed Emerging Artist Award entrants, creates film and video installations using fractured imagery juxtaposed with kinetic sculpture. Buckley is inspired by observing different cultures on her travels, along with the strong influence of her two young daughters. The girls are often in attendance on project shoots and Buckley describes their presence as ‚Äúat times becoming part of the work through their background activity or voice‚ÄĚ. Describing her practice as a ‚Äúmulti-layered referential conversation between component materials‚ÄĚ Buckley explores the physicality of the elements she uses to create her works and combines this with abstract imagery, which can lean towards the psychedelic. The results offer the viewer an all-encompassing experience that challenges their perception of exactly what it is that they are looking at.
Dazed Digital: What first interested you in creating art?
Laura Buckley: I was motivated by the satisfaction achieved through creating a drawing or painting, and also I liked that it is a solitary activity allowing for good headspace. I originally thought I might become a designer of some sort.
DD: How did you learn your technique?
Laura Buckley: I‚Äôve been working with reflective surfaces for many years; I started by integrating glass and mirrors into painting installations during my BA. During my postgraduate course at Chelsea I was uncomfortable with the immateriality of video projection, so I created wooden structures to project onto or out of. When editing film I usually use the cut-up technique. I like that element of chance, and find that when I try to control things too much they generally don‚Äôt work out.
DD: Which artists inspire you?
Laura Buckley: Daniel Buren‚Äôs early work resonated with me when I was moving towards my current practice. I loved the Anthony McCall 2007 show at the Serpentine and I also relate to some of Brian Eno‚Äôs musical techniques and ideas. I plan to work with sound more extensively in the future.
DD: Where do you get your inspiration?
Laura Buckley: I do a lot of filming on holiday; I like how the qualities of a different country can inform a work and I tend to see things more openly when I‚Äôm away from home. My children also constantly inspire me; I love watching how they discover and perceive the world.
DD: What is your creative process?
The two main elements of my work are kinetic sculpture and video projection, and I integrate both to create light installations, I work with wood, metal, mirror and Perspex. There is always an element of experimentation and improvisation during the install, where I try a variety of configurations before deciding on the final layout.
October 2011, by Nick Aikens, Frieze Magazine
‚ÄėThe Mean Reds‚Äô, the title of Laura Buckley‚Äôs exhibition at Supplement Gallery, was taken from a line in Breakfast at Tiffany‚Äôs (1958), and it alludes to a feeling described by Holly Golightly, Truman Capote‚Äôs socialite heroine: ‚ÄėSuddenly,‚Äô she says, ‚Äėyou‚Äôre afraid and you don‚Äôt know what you‚Äôre afraid of.‚Äô This indefinable kind of anxiety hung over the exhibition. Coming from Capote and filtered via Audrey Hepburn, it was one of many eclectic sources ‚Äď including the Bauhaus, desert winds, children‚Äôs toys and synthesized violins ‚Äď that provided the intricate layers for Buckley‚Äôs sound, video and sculptural installations.
As is the case in much of the London-based, Irish artist‚Äôs work, a single structure served as the main formal component from which other elements fed off. Here, in Marcelo‚Äôs Game (Model for a Pavilion) / Tokyo Headbangers (all works 2011), it was a 50-centimetre-high piece consisting of roughly triangular parts of slotted-together Perspex. The architectonic form, an enlarged version of a do-it-yourself model Buckley found in the Bauhaus Museum gift shop in Berlin, sat rotating on a turntable, like a specimen to be admired. On a nearby wall was a projection of a toy, an inanely smiling miniature robot, relentlessly banging its head with its semi-circular arm ‚Äď the sound of its battery-powered springs providing an unnerving, mechanical din. The projector shot through the sculpture, its geometric form creating an imposing silhouette whilst bathing the gallery in a spinning, disco-ball light. The atmosphere in the small gallery, a front room in a Hackney terraced house, was one of experimental inquiry, disorientating though no less appealing.
The adjacent work, Berlin Void (Closed Truncated Triangle), included footage Buckley shot in and around the Bauhaus Museum projected onto a knee-high wooden form whose shape echoed the component parts of the Perspex model, alluding to some kind of bric-a-brac grand design.
PROJECT SPACE - LAURA BUCKLEY
September 2009, by Ellen Mara De Wachter, Art Review
London-based Irish artist Laura Buckley combines video and kinetic sculptures to create dreamlike environments with an industrial aesthetic. Her piece for the Project Space uses documentation of the recent installation Gasworks/Colourbox to transfer a sense of movement and the play of light from a three dimensional space onto an online platform.
Ellen Mara De Wachter: Could you briefly describe the project you have created for artreview.com?
Laura Buckley: This project is a record of an installation. Four of the films are documentation of a work, and one (Colourbox, with coloured light flashing out of a wooden structure) is part of the original work. The installation was a kinetic video work, where a film projection was refracted onto the walls, ceiling and floor using a Perspex triangular prism. So it's a sculptural projection of film, and this project is documentation of this movement.
The layout of the project came about because I was watching some QuickTime files that I minimized on my computer, so they were on the bottom menu and quite tiny, but still playing. I enjoyed them playing in that tiny capacity. So they are icons really, which refer to the computer as a method of exhibiting work. So it's a play with scale and function. It's an interesting duality as I use the computer to make the work, and it has become a virtual space in which to show the work.
Ellen Mara De Wachter: You use light in quite an idiosyncratic way, making it visible as a medium and causing its dispersal in space. Is this transformation of something intangible into a medium a conscious decision or a happy accident? What is it about light that attracts you?
Laura Buckley: I've used reflective surfaces to bounce things around for a few years, so when I started making films it was a natural progression. When I project many films in a darkened but white-walled space it creates this kind of twilight, and I hope that by encompassing the whole interior space with the movement of the image this creates a feeling of inclusion for the viewer. And the viewer becomes part of the work.
I ended up doing what I do in the overall installation as I was making a film. I used a ceramics revolving turntable as I was filming a Perspex structure, and placing a projector on the turntable led me to project onto and through an actual Perspex structure within the installation. So the structures exist within the films and also physically.
A NEW DECADE OF CONTEMPORARY SCULPTURE: LAURA BUCKLEY
by Modern Edition
Video, Installation or sculpture? While Irish artist Laura Buckley's work encompasses all three disciplines, one of the most exciting aspects of her practice is a sculptural exploration of video - or, to be more accurate, the video projection and its interaction with surface and space.
Buckley's films (which in themselves are captivating) operate not only as narrative, but as materials and abstractions; light sources that can be bounced off reflective surfaces, projected onto rotating forms or made to bend, warp or refract.
As Buckley herself says:My works are often semi-performative... in a multi-layered referential conversation between component materials, I use the devices of kinetic sculptural installation and video projection to question art and illusion, reality and
LAURA BUCKLEY : THE MEANS RED
July 2011, by Sally O‚ÄôReilly, Time Out
For those who aren't familiar with 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', 'the mean reds' is Holly Golightly's celebrated phrase for nameless anxiety. When Truman Capote was writing, in the late 1950s, the colour choice of such angst was culturally suspect. Ask someone with emotion-colour synaesthesia how anxiety appears, and it is likely to be much less monolithic, way more poetically pleasing: dappled fawn edged in vermillion, perhaps.
Laura Buckley's 'The Mean Reds' - an interleaving installation of three pieces, throughout which video projection, surface, bulk and sound overlap - goes some way to figuring a complex anxiety. Snippets of video of the surfaces and conduits of everyday spaces are accompanied by an amalgamated soundtrack of ambient and orchestrated noise that lapses into such cinematic truisms as child-like voices and plinking and swelling strings - which, like the images, never quite clarifies.
A shape specific enough to seem important - a truncated triangle - recurs in the interlocking coloured Perspex that forms a crazy tower-like model in 'Marcelo's game' and in the extruded plywood frame through which video snatches of Berlin are projected. This, it turns out, was taken from a logo on a bus shelter, while another location, Tarifa in Spain, provides Buckley with the lyrical phenomenon of two opposing winds that are fabled to produce anxiety in locals. Contaminating the banal with the significant and, vice versa, displacing motifs and scrambling fragments could indeed be pathologised as signs of trauma, but inevitably, in a gallery, this is more likely to be received as blithesome formalism.
TRENDS: LAURA BUCKLEY
Laura Buckley is one of the artists shortlisted for the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artist Award. Her work is an unsettling mix between film and video projections, as well as kinetic sculptural installations.
Describing her works as ‚Äúoften semi-performative, featuring reflective supports within the natural environment, both framing and dramatically contrasting their setting.‚ÄĚ Take a look at the gallery to get an idea of Laura Buckley‚Äôs zest for her own work.
ROKEBY INTERVIEW WITH LAURA BUCKLEY, HAROON MIRZA, AND DAVE MACLEAN/ ‚ÄúHUGO PARIS‚ÄĚ ABOUT THEIR PROJECT STAGE FRIGHT.
VK: The linear trajectory regarding the production of Stage Fright begins with the visual medium of Laura's videos. Laura, can you tell me more about the everydayness you are capturing? Also, do you look for scenes that contain a particular audio/melodic quality?
LB: I'm capturing sound in two ways, as my films document everyday activity as well as my studio practice which consists of the manipulation of materials in both the studio and non-studio environment. It goes between a deliberate gesture or action and something incidental in the background (John Cage). My first films were silent. As I got further into editing, I began to enjoy sound. My editing is quite abrupt and fast moving, and I began working with this kind of random percussion. I worked with the sounds of falling and tearing, which led to more aggressive actions like whipping. Much of my footage is documenting failure, building things up to watch them collapse. The background voices bring an emotional element contrasting with the material sounds.
VK: Is Haroon selecting audio clips on his own or do you give him some instruction regarding the audio bits that you find most appealing?
LB: Both. I preselected some clips which Haroon then edited. The clips were mainly short and consisted of one action. Haroon then edited them further to reduce and refine to a more singular sound/noise.
VK: Haroon, what audio moments in Laura's short visual narratives grab your attention and why?
HM: I found the clips to have quite a musical quality in that many of them seemed to have an element of percussion. For example there is one clip of protective plastic being removed from a square of acetate that renders a very piercing sound reminiscent of contemporary electronic music. I‚Äôm attracted to it not because of its auditory quality per se but rather because it‚Äôs an analogue sound that could be mistaken for an electronic sound. Many of the sounds produced by the dropping, moving, or the placing of acetate has this electro-percussive feel, which inevitably puts the ‚Äėmusic‚Äô within the realms of a particular genre. I don‚Äôt think Dave nor I would normally try to produce music of that nature so there‚Äôs a significant element of experimentation involved. Most of the clips have been edited down to a fraction of their original length and it‚Äôs unexpected how musical everyday sounds can be.