by Laura Allen, 2017
"As both an artist and a writer, I view my work primarily as conversation. While I do work in a variety of modes and mediums, I am always engaged in a discussion of some kind; that discussion may be a quiet one between myself and my medium, or a more crowded one between various voices of literary history, current events, and my own personal store of pet theories and ideals.
The act of transferring and translating ideas back and forth between myself and a canvas, or a piece of paper, or even a poem, results in a new whole. My projects often contain collage, or more than one medium or mode; the obvious differences in mediums help me retain a sense of competing or coordinating voices. "
series statement for Centaurs
"This series is inspired by a confluence of several factors; perhaps the most fundamental is the recent extreme political polarization between rural and urban areas.
I’ve spent most of my four decades moving back and forth between urban and rural living, and the tension is something I feel very deeply, something I live almost daily. It seems to me that the split between urban and rural ideologies is emblematic of a deeper, more mysterious division in each of us, something far older than any split between blue or red.
In this series I investigate some of these dichotomies: urban/rural, civilized/atavistic, human/animal, individualistic/communal, etc.. The ancient image of the centaur in general is still the perfect one to convey the sense of otherness, of almost alien strangeness that results from the divided nature of the human condition; I use collage particularly to indicate a certain human-made artifactuality, and the strangeness that arises from it, as well as a means to express difference and voice.
The choice to use mainly female figures is also a deliberate one based on my belief that it is primarily women who will make something new of the era we’re facing. It’s women who will need to face these old dichotomies with a new sense of power and selfhood; for perhaps the first time in human history, the centaur warrior/teacher/healer will wear a woman’s face."
series statement for Planetary Series
"In this series, I combine a traditional landscape medium, watercolor, with nontraditional methods and intent; the result is a series of distinct new worlds made entirely of abstracted elemental suggestions: geological layers of earth, implied streams of water, the atmospheric subtleties of air. While some clues to landscape remain, such as an horizon line or the heaped shape of a mountain, the images also resist the literal depiction of any known landscape. A quality of the fantastical remains, and these make me think of the landscapes of undiscovered planets, each with its unique geological and chemical makeup, hence the series title.
I began each piece with a series of spontaneous layers of watercolor and water-soluble ink on heavy watercolor paper; the process consists of several steps of wet-into-wet pouring and various resist techniques. The dried images are often beautiful in their own right, but I am then ready to begin the real work of choosing shapes and gestures to leave in, paint out, or augment. I add opaque backgrounds and a definite horizon line; I often work back into the painting with further transparent inks, leaving drips, streams, or pools of color.
When studying the results of my initial spontaneous pours, I choose the masses I want to leave in very carefully, looking particularly to create areas of balance and counterbalance. As the pieces move toward greater specificity and definition with each step, the most successful of them develop a quality of quiet, dynamic potential that is reminiscent of the balancing rocks of Utah or New Mexico."