When thinking of dinosaurs, "friendship" might not be the first word to come to mind – however, it is for Lorien Stern. Her second solo exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary, Old Friends, pays tribute to the bonds that exist between contemporary life and prehistoric creatures. Stern's optimistic works demonstrate that these animals from a distant past are as friendly and endearing as our closest companions. Inspired by the work of paleontologists and paleoartists who have worked to portray these mysterious animals, Stern's pieces counter any notion of them as dangerous or menacing beasts.
Stern's bright and vivid style of ceramics pays homage to the loved ones she has lost. In a brave and comforting manner, she takes threatening animals or symbols of loss and renders them in rounded shapes and lively colors. As Stern puts it, "Sometimes you must take a courageous risk to experience joy, reminding yourself that you will die one day – it's an idea that can provide the impetus you need."
There is joy and wonder in discovering prehistoric life on Earth, as shown in this new series of large and mid-size ceramic wall works and sculptures. Stern nags at human anxiety when he humanizes these creatures with playful gestures. Stern gives hope that, even for the most petrifying parts of ourselves, our legacy can be light, optimistic, and friendship, even if we reposition these ancient beings as cheery or lighthearted.