By Danielle Kalamaras
Through her lens, artist Laura Krasnow creates dreamy imagery of the natural world. Anachronism meets the contemporary in her Declarative Memory series. Through soft sepia tones, her diptychs combine the nostalgia of the Polaroid with the modern-day prevalence of digital photography. Declarative memory is a form of long-term memory and is an exercise in consciously recalling facts and knowledge of the past. The images photographed in her series are universal enough for viewers to pinpoint a similar past event of an idyllic walk through a forested grove, encouraging a personal affection towards an individual moment at ease with nature.
Krasnow’s passion is art, science and technology. After obtaining an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she returned to school to study math, physics and computer science. Her work is featured in the online exhibition Un-Natural Nature, curated by SciArt Center's Arts Program coordinator Danielle Kalamaras. Read on to learn more about her artistic and scientific inspirations.
DK: What most inspires you about the natural and artificial world? What is so ‘Un-Natural’ about nature today?
LK: The definition of what is natural and what is artificial is in constant transformation. What was purely conjecture several hundred years ago has become our reality.
The artifacts we have created, as our species have evolved, whether it is the development of flight, or farms, are dependent upon the natural laws of gravity and biology. I could not describe these artifices of humanity as being an element of the ‘natural’ world, but their existence came about as we adapted our environment to serve our changing aims and goals.
What has been lost, as we further encase ourselves within an artificial world, is that the relationship between these objects and nature are NOT disconnected…one cannot ignore or violate the laws of nature without devastating results.
I consider myself not only as an artist exploring the relationship between art and science, but also as an investigator, a researcher, in this realm. As the tools are developed to explore the more minute particulars of our natural world (nanotechnology), or the complexities of the expansive universe (black holes, dark matter), what is ‘natural’ becomes more unreal than anything within our imagination.
The use of the grid in my work has several references. To recreate archeological sites after excavation, the area is divided into grids. Drawings or photographs are made to understand the relationship between the objects and the environment. It is a way of recreating the ‘memory’ of the period. The use of the grid to draw, or reconstruct what is viewed, can be observed within the work of Durer in the 16th century, to the contemporary paintings of Chuck Close. It is the defining the whole by it’s parts…. recalling moments to define an identity.
I use photography, and the embedded marks and symbols, to reconstruct recollections of time and place. For me, defining a sense of place is the allure of the photographic image. The instant, when time and place seem to merge to catch a moment. But it is the imperceptible connections I seek to define...when something catches your peripheral vision, but is gone when you turn for a longer glimpse. My photographs aim to force the viewer to look beyond the obvious.... to be present and aware of the physical and spiritual light within the subtleness...to reveal the essence beyond the normal visual spectrum.
DK: What does “SciArt” mean to you?
What “SciArt” means to me, can best be summarized within the following quotes…
“Art is science made clear “ - Jean Cocteau
"There is an art to science, and a science in the art; the two are not enemies, but different aspects of the whole." - Isaac Asimov
Visit the artist's website to learn more about her artwork.
Click here to view the online exhibition Un-Natural Nature curated by Danielle Kalamaras which features the artwork of 30 SciArt Center Members.