Laura Mackin newest body of work takes a continued look into the sorting and archiving of images from eBay, which has become a cornerstone in much of Mackin’s recent work.
Gathering found images from auctions of used wedding dresses, Mackin has put together a body of work that brings together moments of the extraordinary and of the mundane. The sellers, who often identified themselves as the brides, have covered their faces in an attempt to remain anonymous. The masking of identity comes in all shapes, from black scribbles to white cutouts, confronting the viewer with the sort of sadness that exists in knowing something special has come and gone. Mackin brings together two separate moments, a bride on her wedding day and the eventual selling of her wedding dress, while leaving us wondering what happened in between.
Laura Mackin was born in Wisconsin and raised in Maryland. She received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2003, and an MFA in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2005. Mackin’s curatorial experience includes directing Giftshop Project Space in Chicago, IL, and co-directing the H. Lewis Gallery in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including recent solo shows at Contemporary Arts Workshop and Old Gold Exhibitions and Events in Chicago.
Many of my books and composite photographs are drawn from my collection of found images and videos gathered from Internet auction sites and forums, thrift stores, and relatives.
For example, since 2003, I have downloaded thousands of pictures of mirrors photographed by US eBay sellers. A mirror is a tricky object to document; it forms an image of anything placed in front of it. These photographs offer a way to look at how people approach the problem of the faithfully reflecting mirror, and how they frame things within the mirror.
Another collection of nightstand pictures offers a study of accidental still lifes. Accumulations of objects, books, phones, photos, lotion, water, dust show evidence of various human needs and obsessions.
My personal photographs, drawings and diagrams underscore my focus on intimate, domestic content. Working with either found or personal imagery, I consider the activity a form of gathering evidence. By paying attention and tinkering, I try to bring overlooked, everyday aspects of living into visibility.
MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2005
BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD magna cum laude, 2003
Burren College of Art, Co Clare, Ireland, 2002
2011 Time Enough, Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR
2009 Driving, 1946—2006, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN
2009 Wedding Heads, Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR
2009 Davis Projection, Harper College, Palatine, IL
2008 Some Screens, Old Gold Exhibitions and Events, Chicago, IL
2007 Davis, Giftshop Project Space, Chicago, IL
2007 April of ’92 and Other Months, Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago, IL
2006 Videotape and Mirrors, Three Seasons Gallery, Chicago, IL
Selected Group Exhibitions and Fairs
2010 Fog: A Spring Group Show, Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR
2009 Art Club, Half/Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR
2009 Artists Run Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
2008 Can Bigfoot Get You a Beer?, Curated by Anthony Elms and Philip von Zweck, Alogon Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 NEXT Fair, Art Chicago, Chicago, IL
2006 Spun from the Web, Gallery 2, Chicago, IL
2006 Nova Young Art Fair, VIDEO+FILM, Chicago, IL
2005 Experiment 400/5, Gallery 400, Chicago, IL
2005 Instillation Collective, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE
2005 Representations, Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago, IL
2005 SAIC MFA Thesis Exhibition, Gallery 2, Chicago, IL
2005 Nova Young Art Fair, Bucket Rider, Chicago, IL
2004 Group Show, Gallery 2, Chicago, IL
2004 Winner’s Circle, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
2004 The Stray Show, Curated by Scott Reeder, Chicago, IL
2004 Annual Juried Show, H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
2003 MICA Commencement Exhibition, Baltimore, MD
2002 MICA Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, Baltimore, MD
2002 Poster Invitational, H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
2002 Nowhere Nothing, H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
2002 3×3, H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
2007-2008 Director, Giftshop Project Space, Chicago, IL
2001-2003 Co-Director, H. Lewis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Collaborative curatorial effort; presented solo and group artistic exhibitions, musical performances, and a lecture program in a storefront gallery
Grabner, Michelle. “Can Bigfoot Get You a Beer?” Artforum.com. 21 Oct 2008.
Eler, Alicia. “Closing Time.” Time Out Chicago 26 Jun. 2008: 59.
Image from “Some Screens.” Chicago Reader 17 April 2008: 93.
Stabler, Bert. “Laura Mackin.” Time Out Chicago 27 Dec. 2007: 72.
Foumberg, Jason. “Eye Exam: West Side Dispatch.” Newcity Chicago 18 Dec. 2007.
Sondak, Justin. “Deck the Halls with Local Art.” Centerstage Chicago. 7 Dec. 2007.
McKinnon, John. “Carl Baratta and Laura Mackin.” Time Out Chicago 22 June 2006: 89.
Camper, Fred. “A Real Looker.” Chicago Reader 9 June 2006, sec. 2: 22.
Hoffman, Ezara. “Carl Baratta and Laura Mackin.” Flavorpill Chicago. 30 May 2006.
Weinstein, Michael. “Laura Mackin.” Newcity Chicago 23 May 2006.
Awards & Lectures
Visiting Artist, MCA Teacher’s Institute, Chicago, IL, 2010
Visiting Artist, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN, 2009
Visiting Artist, Harper College, IL, 2009
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Community Arts Grant, Chicago, IL, 2009
Panelist, Spun from the Web, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 2006