Laura McClanahan’s photography is an investigative study of the optical properties of water, glass and light. In her constructed worlds, she manipulates the mineral by imposing surfaces and introducing filtered color. She works with life’s most elemental substance to create a narrative about what makes something alive. With her plates and vials she explores the ambiguities between familiar details and abstract configurations in the contained water. Fascinated by archetypal forms, (such as drop, wave and vortex),
captured in the surface tension, McClanahan draws relationships to the influences of repetitive patterning in nature and in the mind of the observer.
In these photographs, Photo Cells, the constructed imagery is an artificial environment that portrays a dream-like experience of swimming through a kelp forest in the surf of the ocean. These micro-marine algae, plankton and seaweeds appear as the cumulative effect of many cells gathered together through her process and magnified by the zoom of the camera’s lens. They are portraits of green tides and algal blooms, bubbles of sea foam and nutrients decaying, although there are no real microorganisms from the sea involved. This is Laura McClanahan’s science fictional world of life sustaining qualities where technology takes the eye to places beyond what has been foreseen or imagined. These 30” x 40” digital photographs are part of an ongoing body of work that initiated in 2005.
Laura W. McClanahan is a studio artist working with video, alternative photographic techniques and glass. Her recent themes focus on patterns in water such as waves and vortices as they relate to human behavior and patterns in the mind. Her larger body of work is an on-going study of the optical qualities of water and glass, water as a substance that enables life and water phenomena in nature. Laura received her Bachelors of Arts from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art. She has also studied at the Parsons School of Design, Bank Street College of Education and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Much of her training in the digital arts has come from continuing education courses at Raritan Valley Community College. She also teaches art and design in the Upper School at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey. Recently Laura has been learning glass blowing at Vandermark-Merrit Glass Studio in N.J. and The Banana Factory in Penn