Welcome the one and only LAURA BERGER
Laura and I spoke recently about her practice, her greatest indulgences, reactions to her work and more!
Speaking of colour, Laura says:
“Working with colour is my favourite part of painting, it's what keeps me wanting to paint and what feels the most therapeutic about it. I generally work intuitively when choosing my palettes, though there can be a lot of trial and error when working in this way so it can take more time to get it right. I've also recently been experimenting with working out some small studies beforehand to plan the colour more. I'm not sure which I prefer-- I think they're both interesting ways to work for different reasons so it can be nice to go back and forth between these approaches to keep things interesting.”
LAURA, How would you describe what you do in a few words?
I'm a visual artist, mostly focusing on painting but I also do design projects occasionally.
I CAN'T RESIST ASKING YOU THIS QUESTION EARLY: If you could have a meal with any artist from any time:
a) what would the meal be and
b) who would it be with
I think I would go for some tapas with Hilma af Klint. I'm very interested in the intersection of the unknown / mystical parts of life and art; the cyclical nature of how our psychologies and spirits both inform and are informed by our creative work. I think that's how I came to art in the first place, so she's always been extremely inspirational to me. Tapas because these are some hefty topics so we can just hang out and drink wine and snack for a really long time, and also because I love tapas.
Laura, probably the most iconic part of your work is these iconic shapely figures. Talk to me a little bit about your exploration of the female form in your work?
I've been using the figures for awhile as the base from which to explore everything -- color, shape and composition, feeling. They can function both as literal figures and also as elements through which an environment or overall emotional sense can be revealed.
Who are the women in your work, and what are they feeling?
In my mind they're representative of everyone, including myself -- kind of symbols of our shared humanity more than individual people. Multiple figures could even represent the different parts within us that make up who we are. For me they exist in a dreamlike space where all things are very fluid, including the self or idea of self. The relationship between the environment and the figure is often blurred or intermeshed. The overall feeling or emotional quality / vibe of a painting is something that I focus most on, and this shifts with each painting and depending on what each viewer brings to it.
Laura talk to me about your colour palette? Do you work instinctively?
Working with color is my favorite part of painting, it's what keeps me wanting to paint and what feels the most therapeutic about it. I generally work intuitively when choosing my palettes, though there can be a lot of trial and error when working in this way so it can take more time to get it right. I've also recently been experimenting with working out some small studies beforehand to plan the color more. I'm not sure which I prefer-- I think they're both interesting ways to work for different reasons so it can be nice to go back and forth between these approaches to keep things interesting.
What is your studio like? Do you listen to anything while you work, or have any other rituals?
My studio is small and minimal but has everything I need -- walls and a big window with a lot of light, my paints, some plants. With all that happened in this last year I've been feeling really unmoored in general and have struggled with anxiety so I've ended up doing my meditation practice in the studio before I start working, which has become a really nice and helpful ritual actually. I usually light some incense and sit for 15-20 mins before I start to work. Listening-wise, I tend to do a mix of things : some hours of silence, some hours of music, maybe an hour of a talk or podcast.
What is your greatest indulgence in life Laura?
Food, wine, & traveling...
What have been some interesting reactions to your work?
I've loved hearing when people get a strong feeling from my paintings or when they find a sense of connection with their personal stories, that's really meaningful to me.
What do you hope your work gets across to the viewer?
Mostly I just hope that there's a felt emotional quality, that it elicits feeling in the viewer. The narratives are intentionally left open-ended so that people can connect their own meanings; to me that's one of the most valuable things about any form of art.
What would be your dream project?
Honestly my biggest dream is to be able to continue growing and supporting myself as an artist -- I'd love to be working with galleries where there's a relationship of mutual care, painting murals, and feeling free to explore new subjects and mediums. It's been such a journey for me to get to this point so my main hope is always that I can sustain and evolve. But! Getting extra dreamy, it would be really cool to collaborate on some large-scale sculptural work or work on some big murals.
Who is your favourite historical female artist?
I have so many favorites, it's hard to choose just one.... Recently I've been really into Miyoko Ito and Luchita Hurtado.
And who are your favourite current practicing women artists?
Louise Bonnet @louisebonnetstudio
Gahee Park @gaheepark_meow
Mary Herbert @maryanneherb
Henni Alftanm @hennialftan
Lily Stockman @lilystockman
Cassi Namoda @cas_amandaa
Alicia Adamerovich @aliciaadamerovich
Angela Heisch @angelaheisch
Emma Kohlmann @meiow_mix
Asuka Anastacia Ogawa
Alice Tippit @alicetippit
Ali Silverstein @alisilversteinstudio
..so many more....
Who should She Curates interview next?
any of the above... or here are some more :)
Monica Kim Garza
Honestly my biggest dream is to be able to continue growing and supporting myself as an artist