Laura Radwell: Embodied Landscape

November 6th - 30th, 2019

Paintings by Northampton artist Laura Radwell, November 6th - 30th

Laura Radwell's work is characterized by atmospheric and dream-like components of landscape that drift, overlap, and morph into one another. These new works are an exploration of a further point along that continuum involving tighter, more disciplined, and dynamic compositions -- they emerge from a place she has not been before, a willingness to commit to more definition. Geometry, line, and shape that she sees as muscular and lyrical, reflect the natural landscape, but they often go beyond to evoke the sinuous forms and contours of the human body. She sees the work as a melding of gesture and body contained in landscape and landscape contained in the body.

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 7th, 5-8pm, during Amherst Arts Night Plus.

Please note: the shop is closed for Thanksgiving Nov 28th & 29th, so the exhibit has been extended to Saturday Nov 30th.

About Laura Radwell:
Laura is an artist, designer, and devoted collector of visual impressions who has lived in Northampton since 1974. She began to paint in the late 1980s, and over the years has continued to explore various media: traditional oil painting, sculpture, calligraphy, and photography. In 2014, she returned to painting with oils with an expressive approach -- looser, more personal studies in color, texture, and form. Though abstract, the work retains central aesthetic aspects of landscape, conveying feelings and emotions that range from peace and acceptance to turmoil and yearning. Learn more about Laura at: lauraradwell.com

Q&A with Laura

How old were you when you created your first artwork?
I think I was about 12 years old when I did an oil painting of a small candlestick holder that was a favorite household object. My granddaughter saw it and recently asked me to give it to her to hang by her bedside.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
As a young child I loved to draw and paint, but was steered toward other academic pursuits by my parents. I do recall thinking about art school, but at that time my vision was not fully-formed, and I followed a different path. After college, it became apparent that what was missing in my life was visual expression, and the work that I did over ensuing decades started to incorporate visual components. In essence I was working with color, shape, and form and realizing that my dream was to be a (fine) artist someday.

Why did you choose your medium?
Early on I painted with watercolors, but didn’t find them satisfying. I yearned for more and deeper color. After forays into other art practices including calligraphy, batik, sculpture, and, more recently, digital (photographic) abstractions and mixed media, painting with oils was like coming home.

What inspires you?
Two things: nature and emotions. Nature is a never-ending source of inspiration, every day the light changes, the landscape shifts, the shadows grow and wane, the colors morph. It is as if during all my working (non-art) years I stored up impressions that are now somehow channelled onto my canvases. And the supply of emotions doesn’t wane, and infuses the mood of the work.

How has your style changed over the years?
I suppose you could say I worked more representationally, although my style was always somewhat loose. With the digital compositions, based on my photography, I took a big leap into abstraction, transforming real world scenes and objects. In my painting, I became very atmospheric and loose; this recent components of the work have a different flow and definition. More specific forms (landscape + body) are emerging.

What is your creative process like? How do you work?
I rarely have a plan in mind when I approach a blank canvas. First, I apply a base color to the canvas. Then I essentially wait for a tipping point when I feel painting energy that is sufficient to begin. At times I use paint sticks or charcoal or pencil gestures to define areas of the space. And usually when I’m about to paint, I am in a color mood and set up the palette according to my feelings in the moment.

Where do you work?
I have a wonderful, large studio at One Cottage Street in Easthampton.

What do you like about being an artist in the valley?
I like being part of a large community of creative people, where I find both inspiration from others and a feeling of community!

Cover image: detail from "Beginnings", 50x40", oil on canvas
Beginnings, oil on canvas, by Laura Radwell

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