From a young age, Laura has been fascinated by the mutability of the natural environment, and by the overwhelming sense of displacement of mind and body within a chaotic universe. Having been immersed throughout childhood in a remote community surrounded by rugged wilderness, Laura grew to conflate the beauty and horror of vulnerability with the quiet resonance of undeveloped landscape. The magnitude of these feelings would eventually become untenable, and after lapsing into a prolonged state of dissociation that would last for over a decade, the mere act of perceiving the natural world had become an oppressive force.
By exploring ideas of healing from trauma, and equivocating the Romantic sublime with contemporary mental health issues of self-awareness and empowerment, Laura aims to capture in images the disquiet she experienced while learning to reconnect mind and body, and find agency using the wilderness as a conduit. The content of the paintings includes scenes from her own backcountry expeditions, melded with lucid dream imagery and historic symbolism in order to pictorialize the sense of adrenaline, urgency, and awe that she experiences while venturing into the remote places she has relearned to love.
The concept of the parallel universe is represented here as an allegory for presence in spite of the incomprehensibility of time. By portraying anamorphic or segmented figures melding in time and space with nature, and microcosms in all their simplicity, the sublime is reimagined as a sense of exploration of the body and the mind, and the inclusion of infinite possibilities and an inconceivable capacity for experience despite a singular existence.
Laura Thipphawong is an emerging Toronto-based artist, writer, and historian, and has exhibited art and presented her research throughout several prestigious galleries and international academic forums. As a self-taught oil painter since the age of twelve, Laura made her way from small-town Northern Ontario to Toronto in order to pursue a career in the arts. She is now a graduate and Medal winner from OCAD University with a degree in Visual and Critical Studies, and of the University of Toronto with a Master's in Art History. Her studio practice is representative of her research on the complex symbolism of the psyche in response to various social factors, with focus on sexuality, horror, folklore, and science.
Through the exploration of psychological elements within folkloric narratives and archetypes I seek to discover meaning in the complex and ambiguous relationship between the self and the Other. The academic observation and reinterpretation of these relationships means having to reconcile oppositional materials in my research, and then evoking the feelings of unsettlement and inner conflict in my art. While we are comfortable to separate our personal reality from that which threatens us, no one is a spectator of humanity, and no one is absolved of it. I believe that personal evolution and emotional unrest are the truest aspects of humanity, however terrifying and ecstatic, and that the obscurity of the psyche remains the most fascinating subject. For this reason, along with a morbid curiosity for the esoteric, I am intent on investigating the liminal space that exists between the (false) dichotomies good and evil, predator and prey, and beauty and the grotesque.