Lauren Matsumoto

Lauren Matsumoto was born in New York of Finnish heritage. She has lived in Italy, France, Mexico, Florida and traveled to many countries. She has participated in international group exhibitions on three continents including shows at the ArtComplex Gallery in Tokyo and Artists Space in New York. Her work has appeared in respected publications such as Print and Graphis. She earned an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a BA in Art from Yale. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Nature and how we relate to it is the central theme of my work. Fantasy, cultural appropriation, female sexuality and transformation are also a part of my subject. Using a hybrid form of painting, drawing and collage, my work depicts women from the Industrialist era interacting with nature. Collaged photographs of women -sourced from vintage erotica- harmonize with their natural settings, seemingly unaware of the engine of modern Industrialism continuing to destroy the environment. With this theme I hope to address the decadence and materialism of our modern experience, and celebrate the beauty of nature that we must protect.

In 19th century Indian miniatures it was common to depict “zenana,” the stories of the palace’s forbidden womens’ quarters. Similarly, my work employs a voyeur’s perspective on women interacting with nature. Women surrounded by flowers or pattern frolic with botanicals and animals serving as active characters. Those flowers and patterns are often composed of forms cut out of discarded junk mail or magazines. The smooth surface of paper is where the surprises inherent in the collage process are celebrated. By incorporating discarded or vintage materials, I re-use some of our cultural remnants in my work, employing fragments of what we leave behind as a civilization.

Nature is my biggest inspiration, but my international experience also informs my work. Born in New York of Finnish heritage, married into a Japanese-Mexican family, I have lived in France, Italy, Mexico, Florida, New York and traveled to many countries. These travels exposed me to the visual landscapes of multiple cultures that I appropriate in my work to help express the central theme. Artistic influences are wide and include Indian, Persian and Tibetan Decorative Arts, the work of Swiss Naturalist Maria Sybilla Merian, DaDa collage, vintage Bond films and more.