Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Radwell.
Laura, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
From an early age, I dreamed of being an artist. Despite having an extremely supportive family, I was encouraged to follow another educational path. After studying languages and psychology, I had a succession of jobs, but made a career in marketing and communications, always gravitating toward ways to incorporate visual components into my work. Now and then I found time to dabble in sculpture, calligraphy, and, especially, painting. Excited by the possibilities offered by rapidly changing technology in the late 1980s, I taught myself digital graphic design. When I began winding down my business in the last ten years, I turned first to a form of photographically-informed digital art. In 2014, however, I returned to painting, this time with a renewed inspiration and commitment. The last four years have been a wonderful period of creative growth as my painting has taken off and evolved in ways I could never have anticipated.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a painter. My current work is a kind of abstract landscape. I work (mostly) with oils on canvas (of increasingly larger sizes) from the “inside out,” not the “outside in.” Rather than trying to capture a scene there before me, I create imagined and felt spaces of form and color. My process is a confluence of memory and imagination, expressing a love of the landscape in all its forms, and the integration of time and space. The works make use of rich, unabashed color to fashion and depict primary elements of nature—clouds, water, earth. These created spaces invite wandering and contemplation, and the color, markings and textures evoke different responses in each viewer.
Just recently, I have been using a more sombre palette, a reflection of the darkening times in which we are living. Yet, in these paintings, which I call the ’Umbra’ series, somewhere the light remains or breaks through. Perhaps beauty can give us hope, even in these dark times, offering us a fullness, a roundness, a completion. When I approach the canvas with these thoughts in mind, I’m filled with both excitement and angst, aware of the challenge and aware of the risk.
Almost always, my work is an act of improvisation, the result of the intertwining of memory and imagination, the meshing together of the invisible and visible landscape – somewhere in time and space, and for the moment, in two dimensions.
Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
I think that artists have a tough row to hoe, especially if one aspires to earn one’s keep. There are many artists whose work deserves to be seen, but only relatively few can support themselves with their art. The quest for gallery representation and space, the competitive nature of juried exhibitions, and the emphasis sometimes placed on pedigree, are obstacles for many emerging and mid-career artists whose work deserves to be appreciated and encouraged
Cities like Boston do and can do a great deal to nurture artists. Funding and more grants are necessary building blocks. Others include increasing awareness about available venues, reusing spaces that have fallen into decline, encouraging collaborations between business and the arts, and making use of available wall space in entertainment venues and institutional lobbies. As well, I think more assistance could be provided to emerging artists, a category that in my opinion doesn’t receive enough attention. Fill the walls with art. Art everywhere.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Greater visibility through additional gallery representation would be the best way to support the work!
I am currently represented by the Hoadley Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts where my paintings are on view.
A painting from the “Umbra” series was chosen for a group show at the Limner Gallery in Hudson, New York, and will be there on display from May 13th into early June, 2018.
Two Open Studio weekends at One Cottage Street (in Easthampton) where my studio is located are held each year in May and December. I am happy to schedule studio visits for anyone who is interested in coming at a convenient time.
- Address: Studio 403
One Cottage Street
Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027
- Website: www.lauraradwell.com
- Phone: 413.320.8134
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: laura_radwell_art
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/raddanmacrad
Portrait courtesy of Danielle Tait Photography.
All images copyright Laura Radwell 2018.