Urban Vernacular is an ongoing photographic project that imagines a series of cobbled-together dwellings located on the fringes of urban space. Plastic bags, deli containers, Styrofoam packaging- the detritus of consumer culture- become construction materials, tenuously assembled and decorated by an unseen hand. The sculptural constructions are installed in urban “junkscapes” and photographed. The end result is a large-format, panoramic print that draws on the pictorial and the haptic, the photographic and the sculptural, the hand-made and the digital, to reflect an interdisciplinary approach to image making.

“Laura St.Pierre’s Urban Vernacular photographs evoke narratives about place and displacement on the edges of generic suburbia in Anywhere, USA/Canada. (…) As if working with literature, St. Pierre distills a narrative into a carefully crafted single image that invites the viewer to find meaning. She is able to set the scene and develop tension quickly, packing meaning in by choosing sites, materials and provisional construction methods that are laden with the history of consumer society and ripe with metaphor. It would be easy for the discarded material, plastic and recylables to create a doomsday setting, but St. Pierre mitigates the cautionary tale with optimism, a light hand, a sense of fantasy that borders on science fiction, and concern for the formal qualities of the art (…). These works are a hybrid artform: guerilla interventions in dubious public spaces and sculpture crossed with the aesthetic of still life painting and the processes of digital photography.
Excerpt from catalog essay by Katherine Ylitalo, 2010. Catalog available upon request.