untitled</i> from the series <i>Beyond|Return

untitled from the series Beyond|Return, mixed media on paper, 66" x 55", 2013

Michele Lauriat earned an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows throughout New England, as well as in Illinois, Iowa, and New Jersey.  She has been teaching for more than ten years, most recently at the University of Iowa where she was one of the 2014-2015 Grant Wood Art Colony Fellows.  She has received numerous awards for her work and has participated in residencies at Zion National Park, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki Point National Monuments, Grand Canyon National Park, and Hall Farm Center for Arts and Education in Vermont.

About the series Beyond|Return:

"The drawings in this series always reference a specific place, yet the time, point of view, level of detail, and material use, shift throughout the drawing.  I think of my drawings as exploring the relationships of the parts of each place.  I look at specific details, but don't give a clear picture.  I value small relationships over big ones.  I am not attempting to show a whole or comprehensive view of each place, as I am not convinced such a whole exists.

In the series beyond|return, I focus on the play of architectural shapes amongst the organic patterns of the landscape.  I pay attention to the places where pattern overwhelms itself and breaks down, as well as the moments when chaos falls into a rhythm.  Walking my dog in suburban Boston I notice the interactions between geometric shadows cast by rooftops, telephone poles, and wires, and the organic shapes cast by trees.  I notice that on trash day there is an extra pattern on the street, a pattern that is both temporal and visual, as it emerges and then disappears one day every week.

While my motivation - or impulse - is a visual one, bringing the groundless aspect of my landscape drawings to the suburbs speaks to the instability of the stability seeker's haven: suburbia.  It is a place where it is easy to find comfort in the patterns and the maintenance of order, and hard to see beyond.  It is a place where time based scale shifts are limited, and often fabrications of nostalgia.  Yet between housing bubbles, divorces, floods, sinkholes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the poor economy, even well maintained homes seem like a bleak reminder that the bottom can fall out at any moment.

In this series the interaction of pattern, order, design, chaos, and the push of organic systems, direct my attention and mark making.  My drawings begin with observations.  I notice how the landscape shifts around me as I move through it.  I notice how a bunch of leaves might start as a group, then separate out and become silhouettes of individual leaves, before becoming a group again.  In the landscape I create plein air drawings and photographs to use as source material.  In my studio I use water based paints and dry media to create large, disjointed, landscape drawings.  My process, taking me back and forth between control and chance, is one of chaos barely tethered.  Not unlike our relationship with the landscape."

Michele Lauriat's website

This page was first displayed
on September 17, 2015

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