Already a customer? Sign In
The Truchas Gallery
Arcata-based artist Laura Chapman White has a show of oil paintings at Truchas Gallery, Los Bagels Old Town for December and January.
This summer, she spent a month in Paris working on new projects and sharpening her vision.
"I explored the ancient city with its heavy ornamentation, gathering inspiration and strength for what I do best. Each day I would open the old windows overlooking a puzzle of zinc rooftops. Neighborhood churches and grand cathedrals were seemingly behind every corner and the top of every hill. Despite my personal lack of religious feeling, these places struck me as dazzling, glittering, golden works of inspiration and passion. Ancient stuff was everywhere. There was a medieval museum I went to with all of this beautiful gold and ivory and silver, and these really intense, beautiful colors that at the time were made from the most precious minerals in the world. Ultramarine, the pigment, comes from a stone called lapis lazuli, it means 'beyond the sea.' Stones were taken across the ocean and ground into little magical things put onto paintings to show how valuable these objects were, and how important these religious items were . ... I use these pigments and I use these metals and transform this plain piece of wood into a beautiful piece of art, and its almost the same kind of change that you see from this mundane nothing to a beautiful piece of religious work. ... Despite my personal lack of religious feeling, I still feel connected to the world and other people."
Growing up in rural Missouri, Laura's earliest experiences of art came in the form of religious icons.
"Where I grew up in rural Missouri, often the only art works in my family’s homes were Jesus and the Sacred Heart or the Holy Family. These objects always fascinated me. They were so often made with rich colors, deep blue and intense red, gold, silver and jewels. These images were so interesting to me as a kid, not because I was really religious or interested in that, but because they were so rich and beautiful. They had such great colors, lots of gold and crazy holograms and rainbows -- amazing pieces of art -- and they were really the only art I was exposed to as a child. I didn't really see a lot of museum-quality stuff until I was older. This early influence remains visible in my work. With pigment and metals, I transform wood panels into works of art. I create a holy object from a mundane one. Each painting is a reminder of the possibility of beauty in the world. The most important thing for me as an artist is to share that possibility."
While she enjoys making portraits, figure paintings, and many kinds of wildlife, owls are a subject that she returns to again and again.A reception will be held during Arts Alive on Saturday, December 7th, from 6-9 p.m.
White speaks of owls as keen observers, and says that they represent the heart of her work. For her, they stand for wisdom, judgment and understanding the world. Beyond that they are intensely beautiful, she is fascinated with their eyes seeming to follow you around the room. She hopes that the viewer of her painted owls finds the beauty in them as well, and brings their own meaning to the work.
" When I was young, I dreamed of a life that had beauty and had joy, says White.. I have painted myself into a new one, filled with richness, color and strength. These works are concrete reminders of my vocation and of the fact that I can change my reality. There is always the possibility that something new will happen. These remind me that where I am is not where I will be. Dream is destiny. The future is yours to create."