Opening this Thursday, October 11, the latest exhibition at The Gallery at Sasaki features paintings from artist Laura Segal's Vernal + Barren series. A Watertown resident, Segal's art is nature-based, process-driven, abstract painting. Her work explores the intersection between our built world and the natural world and the structure that results from the collision of these forces. Laura took a few moments from her busy installation schedule to discuss her inspiration, this new body of work, and the way it relates to our gallery space.
Was there a specific moment or influence that inspired you to become an artist?
Making art is the source of my energy and is the activity that most connects me to my true self. I was once terrified to become a professional artist, so instead of going to art school, I went to architecture school. Much as I love architecture, I cannot ignore my inherent need to make art. Over the years, I continued to paint, quietly thinking, "Maybe someday I will be an artist." It was not until my father passed away that I found the nerve to truly shift my focus to developing a career in art.
The inspiration for this body of work came from my father. Last year I received an old photograph of my father using an electron microscope. At the time, I was feeling uncertain about where I wanted to go next. I tacked the photo to my studio wall and stared at it a long time. With sudden clarity I knew where I wanted to go. I ordered a digital microscope, headed to my favorite vernal pool, scooped up a water sample, and took it to the studio for a closer look. Truth be told, the microscopic view of the pool is not as interesting as one would think. However, the act of examination sparked this body of work.
What was your process for this show in particular?
Some new techniques evolved as I produced this work. I experimented with finish surface, using gel as a varnish and for descriptive texture. With this body of work, I wanted to create a glass-like lens through which to view the painting. My research brought me to a pourable, non-yellowing epoxy resin. Learning to mix, pour, and finish this material was an exciting challenge—mostly positive, but also quite messy, expensive, and toxic. The results are encouraging and I'm looking forward to perfecting my technique and finding new ways to work with this material.
Why were you drawn to The Gallery at Sasaki?
The Gallery at Sasaki is an ideal venue for my work. On the riverfront, Sasaki is surrounded by the kind of habitat represented in my work. Knowing the space was partially dependent upon artificial light and partially open to a glass wall of natural light influenced the way I exhibit the work as well as the actual production of the pieces. As I worked on the large, glossy panels, I envisioned how they would bask in the natural light flooding the gallery.
October 11, 2012
The Gallery at Sasaki