Lakshmi Maslen is a multimedia artist, working mainly in painting, ceramics and textiles. Her work is concerned with natural and bodily forms, ranging from figuration to biomorphic abstraction.
Lakshmi’s process is very intuitive, combining imagery and materials until they feel ‘right’. Sensuality and texture are very important to her: she revels in the textures, colours and sensations of the body and the natural world, celebrating life in all its forms.
With the advent of AI, cultural and artistic endeavours are being hoovered up and regurgitated as simulated art. She feels this process should be resisted and is therefore interested in exploring ways of doing this by adopting techniques which resist digitisation, using tactile and irregular materials: scraps of fabric, dollops of thick paint or ripped paper. Her work is resolutely human. it is very important for her to see the hand in her work. It needs to feel raw.
She is predominantly a painter; however, in pursuit of materiality, in 2022 she branched out into stitch-work and has been experimenting with it ever since. She finds she can use it in much the same way as paint, juxtaposing different textures of cloth and blocking out areas of light and shadow. On her textile journey she has taken inspiration from Louise Bourgeois and Magdalena Abakowicz’ use of weaving and sewing. Both artists used traditionally feminine and undervalued art forms to create haunting and impactful work.
Lakshmi’s art can be crude and bodily; flesh spilling everywhere, blood flowing and muscles straining. She delights in the body in all its gory glory. Like the philosopher Michel Foucault, she sees the body as the “seed” of resistance to power.
Foucault believed that, even though power structures enforce their control through the body, trying to control and categorise it, it is never fully compliant and breaks free from the mould placed upon it. Similarly, Lakshmi wants to depict the way our bodies and all aspects of nature spill out, and cannot be contained within the rigid confines which authoritarian rule places upon us.
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