For Stardust, Lorien Stern transforms the gallery into a supernatural graveyard. Her brightly patterned ceramic animal sculptures act as shrines for spirits to incarnate and serve as safeguards—offering soul protection to those passing through Stern’s experiential world. A place meant for great comfort and contentment, the graveyard becomes a vibrant place for celebrating past lives, memory, and rebirth.

In Stardust, Stern melds her own personal mythologies with other theological beliefs to allow for multiple meanings to surface. A rainbow for example, a symbol of miraculous hope and blessings for so many, to Stern, doubles as an expressive frown; which not by coincidence, bears another clever likeness to the shape of Stern’s tombstones.

Even the exhibition’s title, Stardust, has its own connotation for Stern. The word stern in German means star, and dust is reminiscent of the sediment in clay-- Stern’s preferred medium, which coincidentally, “could have served as molecular molds that incorporated life's building blocks”* after the Big Bang. One tombstone in the exhibition reads, “STAR DUST,” and intricately glazed on the other side, a star map. No, not a star map of Hollywood, but one from our universe.

This ambiguity fuels Stern as she creates work embodying various narratives while still maintaining a cheerful, welcoming place to contemplate the meaning of life. Nash, Madeleine. (2001, June 24).

Lorien Stern was born in 1990 in Ojai, California. She received her B.F.A. from California College of the Arts. She lives and works out of a shipping container in Inyokern, California.