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LAURA NEWMANAmerican b. 1956

LAURA NEWMANAmerican b. 1956

Laura Newman is an abstract painter based in Brooklyn, New York. The artist conjures varied moods in her works, that lead us on non-verbal paths of visual exploration. One painting suggests night walks in a city under construction; others suggest dreamscapes of layered experience; others still are closer to being pure abstraction. Thus, as is often the case in Newman’s work, planes, marks and strokes perform double duty, typifying her disregard for the separation between abstraction and representation by weaving identifiable forms into an abstract image.

Over the course of her 25-year artistic career, Newman’s creations went through an apparent organic transition: the structure presented in earlier works consists of hard-edged geometric forms, crisp lines, transparent planes and flattening of forms; while in more recent work, nameable things such as billboards, houses, doors, fields and other recognizable objects are identifiable. What now establishes guidelines for the viewer are colossal strokes, elongated collage-like shards of color and thin exploratory lines. The points of departure for her paintings are instances in her life. She draws upon the world around her, from memories and places or from speculative reality. Compositional ambiguity, a thickening of atmosphere and a sense of disruption add to an already robust list of qualities and information that establish spatial inversions, engendering a sense of negation and contradiction.

In her artist’s statement, Laura explains: “A painting comes alive for me when I can feel the space in it. In my recent paintings, brushstrokes cohere into structures that serve as containers for space and fold together a range of approaches to form, among them hard-edged geometrical shapes, loose gestural dry brushed strokes of ink, and architectural references. Painting for me is about discovering an image. Through the process of working and reworking, layering and painting out, I attempt to locate a specific but unnameable place with its own rules of gravity and rhythm, that surprises me, but I recognize it.”

Laura Newman has received fellowships and awards from The American Academy in Rome, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Yaddo, The American Academy of Arts and Letters, The New York Foundation on the Arts, and Vassar College. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at Cooper Union, the California Institute of the Arts, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, she is an Associate Professor in the Art Department at Vassar College.