Laura Shill, a Denver-based artist, earned an MFA in interdisciplinary media arts practices from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2012. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at the 2017 Venice Biennale at the European Cultural Center; the Galleries of Contemporary Art, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Denver; and Hyperlink Gallery, Chicago. Her 2016 solo exhibition Phantom Touch took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver.
Shill works in photography, sculpture, installation, and performance. She often explores ideas around disclosure and concealment, absence and intimacy, and the sinister and beauty. With this series, Absent Lovers, Shill photographs Harlequin romance novel covers and then removes all details except for one figure, who often remains trapped in a void of white and in an expression of passion or anguish. She considers these works to be collages made through subtraction rather than addition. Her act of erasure creates an image of unfulfilled desire and fantasy, which perhaps cuts to the true nature of the romance novel. Shill then makes large negatives of these collages from which she prints cyanotypes, hand-made photographs distilled down to a melancholy blue color. These works give pronounced presence to absence and ask us to consider the relationship between fantasy, desire, and loneliness.