Palimpsest

Laura Barrón


The cohering element in Mexican-Canadian artist Laura Barrón's work is her ongoing engagement with landscape. Whether vehicles for memory, impressionistic travelogues, or formal abstractions, her large-format photographs envelop the viewer. With her fluid horizon lines promising the infinite, many of her works conjure up serenity in the wake of disaster. Loneliness permeates, but it is accompanied by beauty and quiet drama. Often working with her private experience as a starting point, Barrón invites viewers to bear witness to the transformations that can be arrived at through artistic processes.

With Palimpsest, Barrón sees this sense of transformation reach new heights. Responding to her father’s recent death, the artist uses his ashes to sculpt abstract forms on top of her earlier landscape works and then photographs them. The result is dynamic and harrowing, suggesting the revisiting of a life through the perspective of loss. But grief is buoyed by curiosity concerning the essence of death: What was once a person has been reduced to ash; what was ash has been transformed into landscape, one that hovers over the artist’s already crafted images. What we’re seeing is not altogether different from self-portraiture.