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.
ALL IN A SEA OF WONDERS
"I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear;
I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.”
Learning to live with fear has been the ever-evolving consequence of my childhood, and accordingly, the foundation of my adult life. The complex system of external, internal, tangible, and perceived dangers brought on throughout the journey of life must be constantly negotiated with the mind’s eye in order to survive, and also to thrive as the director of one’s own life. This negotiation is only possible if we are able to explore our fears, thus subverting them, taking control and willingly facing terrifying obstacles with open eyes staring brazenly into the darkness.
For this series I have pieced together and personalized several archetypal images, using my research in Jungian psychoanalysis of folklore and fairy tales to create allegories of fear, exploration, and transformation within a world of chaos. The scope of the work, as with many classic fairy tale and mythological narratives, honors those curious and brave enough to dive into the belly of the beast. It is only through adversity and unsettlement that we can expect to grow and transform. Our readiness to become aware of the dangers in our path, and our willingness to acknowledge elements of our inner selves that cause skewed perceptions of these dangers are the keys to self-discovery, allowing us the opportunity and ability to hone and find beauty in fear, chaos, and the unknown.
THE BEAST IN ME
“A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism.” – Georges Bataille
There is a strategically pursuant nature to the ways in which people relate to one another. We are emotional predators and physical prey, chasing, luring, devouring and nourishing each other. Our roles as active and passive are always in negotiation, and these roles often exist simultaneously; or rather our position in either role is constantly oscillating. This series explores emblematic images of the hunt from a deconstructed perspective. From a survivalist, defensive, opportunistic, primal, and evolutionary point of view, these paintings represent human intimacy and the drive to mutually consume each other.
THE MAIDEN AND DEATH
This project illustrates autonomous female sexuality as inspired by 19th-century European literature. By examining the symbolism and imagery in narratives that still resonate in contemporary culture I aim to distill personal meaning through a close-reading and visual translation of various elements within these texts. Art and literature are equal partners in cultural expression, and all forms of expression are self-portraiture. Being that Victorian men wrote most of the literature that carries a deep and resounding importance for me, I find it necessary to explore the context in which these stories were created; in this time, European culture was experiencing an upheaval under threat of the ‘New Woman’ and of theories regarding psychosexual development.
Just as the past informs the future, the present changes the way we see the past. Art is a key cultural mirror and in so it is the art-makers responsibility to produce reflective images reacting to the issues that afflict us. Victorian literature was symbolic of the time, but in many ways is more applicable than ever. These classic stories permeate our consciousness, they are told and retold and are continually informing our collective memory. My goal is the retell through imagery the concepts in canonical literature of subject versus object, hunter versus prey, and dominion over passivity in the archetypal female.