Laara Cassells

Laara Cassells: _after

Opening Reception: 
Sunday, October 18 from 1-3pm | FREE

October 18, 2015 - January 03, 2016 

Laara Cassells combines historical and contemporary portraiture to create a series of dramatic and compelling double portraits based on paintings from the last 600 years by a range of artists including Rogier van der Weyden, Jean-Louis Voille, de Goya, and Alexander Osmerkin. Working with images of historical portraits from the Internet, Cassells re-stages and laboriously paints in the manner of the original source, inserting into the picture a contemporary young person which resembles and interacts with the historical subject. In place of the symbolic props of the historical portraits, Cassells poses her contemporary subjects with electronic devices such as media players, tablets, and cellphones. Her conjuring of past portraiture styles provides the viewer with the opportunity to reflect upon our enduring fascination with images of ourselves and how meaning is embedded within the specific time and place of those images.

Laara Cassells was born in London, England and has travelled extensively, living in New Zealand and the USA before settling in Canada. She holds a Business Management Degree, an MFA in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, and an MFA in set and costume design from the University of Calgary. Focussing exclusively on her art practice for more than 20 years, Laara has exhibited sculptures, drawings, and paintings internationally. She has received grants from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Medicine Hat Cultural Development as well as numerous awards. Her work resides in private and public collections in Europe, South Korea, and Canada, including the Esplanade Permanent Collection of Art; Medicine Hat College; the University of Calgary; and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

_after is accompanied by a publication with a text by exhibition curator Joanne Marion. The exhibition will continue its tour at the Thames Art Gallery in Chatham, Ontario in 2016.