To see Laura you might be fooled into thinking she's just this wee lass who bounces about town without a care in the world. And you'd be half or maybe just a quarter right, she is a lassie. But as seems to be the way in Aberdeen, she's one of a number of female artists operating in the North East and beyond who absolutely kick ass and bursting any gender stereotype! But before I explain why ill just get the main point of this post out the way.
Laura was chosen to be the Painter in Residence after finishing at Grays School of Art. A chance to take over an entire studio and produce a new body of work is a great opportunity and one which Laura grabbed with both hands. At times progress seemed slow and restrictive opening hours often halted progress just as Laura was finding her flow, however that time spent exploring ideas and new avenues is essential for any artist in progressing their practice and stepping out of the comfort zone. Certainly an aspect which the coming graduates will soon notice, studio space is important if you want to push yourself further and keep pushing your art practice.
A huge aspect of Laura's practice is the physical endeavour of actually making the work. The colourful slabs which somehow stick to the walls start off as individually torn strips of cardboard, paint stakingly stuck together, mounted, stabbed, cut some more and then eventually some colour added. Seeing the pieces that would eventually become her final show was pretty incredible as she worked into each of them, adding the expanding foam to help form out the largest piece (which took two of us just to lift off the wall!). Process, almost ritualistic in nature were key in bringing Laura's work to life, a physical transference of energy from artist to art work. And when you see the work in real life, its buzzing!
The shows opening was a huge success for Laura (check out some images of the final pieces here) and she hasn't slowed down with pieces in 2 up coming group shows and the recent Graduates in Residence show Funcy (some pics here) which opened just last month. And a recent move to her native Glasgow should help re energise Laura, photos are already filtering out from her new studio and she's busy as ever with her VAU activities. Laura has been a real inspiration to work with, full of energy which you need sometimes, its good to feed off such a great soul but you have to be sure to give some back. Hopefully these videos can do just that and also give some insight into this incredible artist.
So back to my point about Laura kicking ass. From the information I see women in society are still at a disadvantage compared to their male counter parts both in work and beyond. Although we've come a long way in the fight for equality across the board its clear were still not there yet. But despite this in the arts, up here in Aberdeen at least women are leading the charge. From curators like Sally and Claire at SMART, Tasmin Greenlaw at GHAT to artists like Amber Robertson, Kirsty Russel, Tako Taal, Caitlin Hynes, Gabi Reith and Caitlin Main to name a few, women are at the forefront of the creative sector and its hugely inspiring. As I said before about Laura being this wee lass, she's anything but! I watched her drag a ton of cardboard across her studio and battle through exhaustion to finish her pieces for the show. She showed more strength, both physical and mental than most of the people I know and that's a common trait I've seen in a lot of the women operating with in the arts up here. It can only be a good thing and I hope it gets better as there's always more to be done but I'm proud to say its not looking so bad up here!
Oh and check out Laura's tumblr for more oh her excellent work. Thanks Laura, it was a blast!