Lauren Cardenás Wins 2024 LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award

Lauren CardenasLauren Cardenás, assistant professor of art/printmaking, was awarded a 2024 LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award for her research exploring the experience of navigating her bifurcated identity as a Mexican American, the fading “American dream,” the experience of Latinx individuals seeking asylum at the U.S./Mexico border, and the increasingly inflammatory political rhetoric in this country.

Cardenás is a Latinx studio artist who focuses on print media. Her current body of work asks the viewer to question the connotations of everyday mundane objects. She engages in print-media processes such as lithography, letterpress, and digital output printing, utilizing these media to create installations, participatory projects, and prints. 

“I have pushed the boundaries of printmaking by creating digital print transfers of airplane window views seen by deported Latinx individuals onto American Cheese slices reminiscent of in-flight meals and symbolic of processed convenience foods,” Cardenás said. “I have also explored printing on ’emergency blanket’ Mylar. Within this body of work, I have been challenged by conservation issues, i.e., in humid climates, the cheese will mold. These challenges have led to experiments with epoxy resin and outsourcing facsimiles while not compromising the original intention. These explorations are parts of my current series, #sueñoamericano, which investigates the realities of the American Dream in today’s world.”

She recently had a solo exhibition “No Home for You Here” on view at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and was awarded the LSU Provost Fund: Arts/Humanities Project Support Fund 2023. This artwork has also traveled to Houston, Texas. Last year, she was awarded a Louisiana Solo Exhibition at the Antenna Gallery in New Orleans for the spring of 2024. Her work was selected for the El Paso Museum of Art for the Border Biennial, an exhibition that was featured in Texas Monthly.

She holds a BA in painting, printmaking and drawing from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX; she is a Tamarind Institute Printer Training Program graduate, and she holds an MFA in visual art with a focus in print media from Washington University in St. Louis. Her artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She was awarded the University of Nevada, Reno Black Rock Press Redfield Fellowship (2016-2018). She created a limited edition artist book titled “Things You See in the Dark,” which is a collaboration with poet Daniel Enrique Perez.

Cardenás was the editor and founder of PIECRUST Magazine (2011-2014), which was an art and biannual literary magazine based out of St. Louis. Lauren also was a co-founding member and co-director of Museum Blue (2014-2017), an artist-run project space in St. Louis. She has co-curated many exhibitions that make strides to bridge the gap between art and literature. Along with her curatorial and publishing practice, she was a founding member and an active part of the steering committee of the St. Louis Small Press Expo (2014-2016). She was a Gallery Committee member for the Holland Project in Reno, NV (2017-2018).