About Laura Chapman
I live surrounded by woods, and when I get “stuck” when I’m painting, I’ll often go outside to pull weeds in my garden or look at Native American jewelry online to clear my head and help me re-focus. My subject matter is mostly chosen from the former endeavor, and my style is influenced by the latter. When you add my appreciation for modern art, I think one can begin to see the foundation for my abstract and textural works. For these, I usually add layer after layer of color, sometimes waiting between coats, sometimes working while the paint is still wet. I strive to achieve a rough, not overworked, appearance that still conveys a fullness of the idea I’m trying to express. I will leave only “suggestions” of a component if I like the forms of the uncompleted lines or color fields because their uniqueness is more important to me than fidelity to the represented object. In fact, if I’ve succeeded, the painting in its entirety could be interpreted as a pattern or design in addition to whatever the subject matter might be. I don’t want the viewer’s eye to rest too long on any one area. To help achieve this, I mentally divide the painting into both vertical and horizontal “squares” as I work in order to give each one uniform attention so that they can contribute equally to the balance of the piece.
I am an abstract painter who lives and works in rural West Virginia. An art teacher once told me to “paint what you know,” and I have followed this advice by most often choosing subjects found in the natural world around me. I think my travels and years of living abroad influenced the style of my painting in that I developed an appreciation for modern art that began when I lived in Berlin, Germany when I was 16. The city was full of public art and galleries, and even the Wall was covered with beautiful graffiti, some of it by famous artists. Now I strive to incorporate all of my experiences to create my own personal interpretations by synthesizing an abstract view of plants and flowers by deconstructing and then depicting them in a stylized way that emphasizes certain patterns and forms.
Although I won awards at art shows throughout my secondary schooling, I decided to study German in college and received my B.A. from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. I later attended WVU where I taught German and earned an M.A. in Foreign Languages (German). In between the two degrees, there were 4 years of living, studying, and working in Freiburg, Germany that I also consider an important part of my education. I am a self-taught painter.
I am a juried member of Tamarack and one of my pieces was in the 2021 Best of West Virginia juried exhibition there. My artwork has been part of several exhibitions at the Culture Center in Charleston, WV including the 2019 and the 2021 West Virginia Juried Exhibitions. My paintings have been selected for national juried exhibitions in Arizona, Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia. In recent years I have shown my work at several galleries in West Virginia, and currently most of my larger pieces can be seen at Young at Art gallery in Lewisburg, WV.