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TURF artist profile: Lauren Zoll 

click to enlarge Lauren Zoll tosses paint-dipped eggs in her TURF space. - STEPHEN SIMONETTO

Lauren Zoll is pitching paint-dipped eggs against the wall, though she's not sure if it's permitted. It wasn't part of her proposal for the pavilion; but after all, installation work can be site-specific. She's dipping the eggs in mis-tinted paint, or paint that's been rejected by consumers because it wasn't quite the right shade.

Zoll enters her windup, unsure of her aim, and the eggs hit with a satisfying splat, a mixture of yolk and charcoal gray paint oozing down the wall. Two eggs land in almost exactly the same place; another gets away from her and lands high and outside. She removes much of the egg with a putty knife, concerned about the potential for a rotten egg odor; she'll eventually cover the paint splotches with varnish as an added protection.

Zoll can't stand football — “I hate it so much that all I want to say is when it's on television, I objectify all the men in tight pants” — but her “mistint” series certainly involves a little bit of muscle: “When you guys were photographing, and I saw photos of myself, I saw the athleticism involved, and I thought of, unfortunately, Richard Serra and some of those athletic guys.” Things have a way of coming back to sports in Indianapolis, even when they would seem ostensibly far removed.

The reading and misreading of Indianapolis is central to Zoll's installation. In one corner are the mistint splotches, created using locally-sourced eggs and paints; above each splotch will be painted a word, person's name or country that can be made using the letters in Indianapolis (Poland, India, Spain; Ana, Lisa, Ian).

In another corner is a piece inspired by a visit to Germany in 2010, during which she rode in a taxi whose car stereo happened to have the brand name of Indianapolis. She recorded her conversation with the Hungarian driver about the radio; it plays from speakers of her own design, with a framed photo of the car stereo illustrating the soundtrack.

It's all about exploring the interstices of life: “There's so much to be learned from things when they're one off: one off, two off, three off. There's more complexity, more information … The nature of art lies in between categories: You can't name it; it needs to be thought about more or considered more.”

Zoll is presently working on a three-plus year project that will be realized this November at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, when her work will occupy the video gallery in the contemporary art wing. She's essentially been layering black paint on a canvas, letting it dry (or not dry) as fate would have it, choosing to paint in conditions too cold or hot to let the paint set as intended. A video record of the piece — which she calls “filmic,” rather than documentary in any sense — is in the works.

Zoll has never called herself a painter, though she looks to painters for inspiration, and when she sees a good painting, “it's like none other.” She started out working with scrap metal while during her high school years, which she spent in Carmel. While earning her BA in liberal arts at the College of Santa Fe (now Santa Fe University of Art and Design), she worked with blacksmiths on iron pours and the like. She studied metalsmithing while earning her MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit, though her work was largely performance art at the time.

Her speakers for the TURF installation are her first work in metal for some time. “I grew up here welding, putting metalwork and scrapwork together. To be able, years later, to make work that relates to Indianapolis on another scale, collecting sound and being able to show that year — I did research, and now I'm able to show that research. We were all here working late last night, and I realized, I've never worked late with a bunch of other people on an install in this city.”

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