Mimi Lauter works primarily with pastel on paper, from intimately scaled notebook-sized work to twenty-four part installations transforming entire gallery spaces into secular chapels. A saturated, bold palette and intricately carved rich textures comprise her works that harken simultaneously to cave paintings, Byzantine mosaics, medieval tapestries, Redon, and the murals of Diego Rivera. The work hovers between abstraction and representation, carrying narratives drawn from subconscious memory, literature, sociopolitical surroundings, the history of painting, and classical mythology.
She says, 'There's a certain type of intimacy with drawing. It's always an accumulation of many marks, never one gesture, that leads to a different relationship with time. It's both immediate and slow.'
Lauter began as a painter, transitioning to the medium of pastel as a means of slowing the pace of both the reading of her work and the creation of her work. These compositions exist in a space between painting and drawing, and even sculpture–Lauter's surfaces are thick, viscous accumulations of almost pure pigment, pushed, scraped, and then meticulously carved. These complex surfaces guide the viewer through deeply personal, and yet universal, knowing of human interior psychic and emotional spaces.
In recent bodies of work, Lauter has explored the relationship of the artist and the viewer to the art itself, a feeling that is deeply spiritual and potentially transcendent. These series, called Devotional Landscapes and Devotional Flowers, are intended as vessels for worship in the same manner as are traditional Christian devotional paintings, which function as physical substitutes for deities. With Lauter's work, devotion is focused on the art itself rather than a higher power–these compositions encourage the viewer to explore the ethereal, the amplified state that is roused through encountering impactful art.
Mimi Lauter (b. 1982, San Francisco) received her BA at the University of California, Los Angeles and her MFA from University of California, Irvine. Her work is represented in the collections of the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles.