Lauren Zoll: Black Beans for Navy Pier

Lauren Zoll, Black Beans for Navy Pier, 2018. 20x16x1 inches. Black Bean ink on archival panel.

Lauren Zoll, Black Beans for Navy Pier, 2018. 20x16x1 inches. Black Bean ink on archival panel.

Lauren Zoll grew up cooking beans with her grandmother — her only point of entry to her family’s Ladino-speaking past. (Ladino uses a vocabulary drawn primarily from Spanish and Hebrew.) Now, with her own family, Zoll again cooks with black beans — and began experimenting with them as part of her artistic practice, developing inks from them and harvesting light by turning the ink into a dye that can mimic photosynthesis. It was “an early attempt to use the form of beans to make an image relating to the material — a way of using the beans as modular building blocks.” The anthocyanin dye produced by the beans is a powerful dye that, over time, changes as it comes into contact with natural elements. This combination of temporality and permanence seemed especially contemporary to Zoll. Don’t want the piece to change? “Hang the painting in a dark space and it will live for a long time."

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Lauren Zoll is an Indianapolis based artist. She received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006 after earning a BFA from The College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2013, Zoll exhibited a solo show of paintings and videos at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Zoll’s work has been profiled by PBS Digital Studios and has been published in New American Paintings Midwest Edition, 2015. Zoll is a 2018 recipient of the DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.