Arts and Entertainment | Art

Lauren Silva, SoA ’13, prepares for first solo show

  • abstract imagination | A selection of Lauren Silva’s paintings that will be on display in a Chelsea gallery through March 29.

With just days to go before her first solo exhibition, Lauren Silva, SoA ’13, was still putting the finishing touches on her pieces Monday.

Silva’s exhibition, “I tried to catch the fog. I mist.,” which opens Thursday and runs through March 29 at the ZieherSmith Gallery in Chelsea, will feature her abstract paintings. 

Silva, who received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles, had only recently received her Master of Fine Arts from Columbia when Scott Zieher, owner of the gallery, visited Silva’s studio in the fall.

Zieher said that he was “instantly taken by her paintings—by both her accomplished touch, and her vision.” The evening of his visit, she received an email, and her first show was booked at his gallery. 

Courtesy of Lauren Silva
Chelsea Girl | Lauren Silva, SoA ’13, poses with some of the work that will be displayed at her first solo exhibition.

“I had just graduated and had just gotten a new studio and hadn’t quite even settled in yet, so it all seems kind of sudden, which is great,” Silva said. “I was very excited to find out that I was offered this show. ... I still wanted to try new things. I didn’t want to exactly make the same paintings I had just made for my thesis.” 

To prepare pieces for her show, Silva began to experiment with new ideas and new textures. 

“They were changing because I was in a new space and the scale was different and I wanted to give a lot of time to still experimenting and feeling out new possibilities for where the paintings could go.”  

One of her former professors, Gregory Amenoff, recalled that when Silva first came to Columbia, she was creating extremely wide paintings. However, her new studio was cramped and narrow, so she switched to making vertical pieces. 

“I think Lauren is a unique painter. I think she has an enormous imagination and energy,” Amenoff said. “She’s fearless with color, and she has an imagination that gives birth to amazing shapes and ideas. I think it’s the energy, the buoyancy of her paintings.”

Silva said that in playing with colors, tones, and textures, she imagines the series in the upcoming exhibition to be like stained glass windows, where the lights and shadows reflect to re-enact an abstract window. She also characterizes her work by sizes. 

Whereas in the past she mainly created huge paintings, in this exhibition she experimented with using series of smaller works to represent something larger. 

However, Silva remains just as curious as the gallerygoers to see what the show will look like. A few days before the opening, she still didn’t know which paintings would be featured—nor has she stopped working on them. In the case of one, she whitewashed the majority of it so she could start new and make it more interesting.

“I’m excited to get the paintings into a bigger space and just kind of see them in a group, in a space because I run these paintings through my mind every day but I haven’t actually visualized them,” Silva said. “They literally go wall to wall in the studio. … It’s almost like I haven’t even really seen them for the first time yet.”

“I tried to catch the fog. I mist.” runs through March 29 at the ZieherSmith Gallery, 516 West 20th St. in Chelsea. | @ColumbiaSpec


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Aunt Sherry posted on

nice mix of anticipation and review . good work, netana