Lorrain Mailer creates fragile sculptures and installations from everyday domestic and humble objects. Inherent are the physical and contextual characteristics of the materials, which she transforms to provoke questions and open a dialogue.
Her practice brings into focus and unpicks subconscious conditioning in British society. This conceals our collective and instinctive drive to survive by conflict and domination. Mailer suggests that humans are predatory by nature and to justify this mankind has sought to find mitigating answers to their actions and the consequences of those actions.
Central to this interpretation is the choice of materials, often unassuming, ephemeral or transparent; to suggest an intuitive, primeval and multi layered feeling. The materials are essential as a metaphor, allowing the viewer to unravel ideas of contemporary discrepancies, double standards and complacency in order to maintain an easy way of life.
The starting point for Mailer is often the repetitious and cyclical nature of human events in both forgotten and established history. Her reference points are the theories and philosophies of Christopher Coker, Michel Foucault and David Hume.
Initially Lorrain Mailer came to Virginia Woolf conditioned by her upbringing that inclined to dumb down female intelligence, wit and talent. She didn’t approve of Woolf’s work, feeling her intellectually prejudiced and conveying superiority. Perhaps also feeling daunted by Woolf’s ability to competently convey in words her own inarticulate thoughts.
Now, at the same age as Woolf when she committed suicide, Mailer reads her work differently, having a more experienced view of the social conditioning that suppresses each generation. Importantly she now appreciates that Woolf’s weaknesses are also perhaps her own.
Mailer can now appreciate Woolf’s perceptiveness in portraying how we avoid the intimate universality of thought and feeling; Woolf’s persistent, eloquent unravelling of each character’s concealed, often socially unacceptable, thoughts, sometimes reflecting her own.
Woolf’s prose has the poetry of sound, each word rolling around your head, allowing you to make your own personal connection. Like Woolf, Mailer’s concern is for social equality; unlike Woolf she is not gifted with words instead creates a language of visual association using materials instead of writing. Her aim is for the viewer to interpret and draw their own conclusions about contemporary discrepancies, double standards and complacency of values in contemporary society; by allowing viewers to unpick meaning for themselves.