Laura Sanders

Shifting Baselines

Contemporary Art Matters is pleased to present Laura Sanders: Shifting Baselines, a solo exhibition of new paintings, on view through December 18, 2020.

Laura Sanders is a figurative painter whose work explores women in landscape with an interest in the emotional, painterly and political aspects of the mise en scène. Her paintings capture the realistic sense of the figure and the environment, while maintaining a high level of painterly qualities. In Shifting Baselines, feminism and environmentalism are the conceptual fabric of Sanders’ work. She unabashedly addresses the vulnerability of women and nature in our everyday environment. By placing women in the woods, Sanders takes charge of where women are viewed as safe, venturing beyond our ideas of how our systems are measured as they take center stage against nature, tattooed by light, engulfed by shifting trees.

Spring Water. Like the title suggests, the artist draws attention to water, more specifically front and center here, the water in a plastic bottle. Sanders often uses plastic as a device to play with light and, more importantly, to underscore its adverse environmental impact. Also, as in many of the works in this series, the subject’s gaze is strong and direct, assuming her rightful place.

By Herself, Private Property. The young woman is bathed in sunlight coming through the trees of a wooded environment. She looks over her shoulder and her eyes meet the viewer directly. The vigilant gaze is captivating in this work. Her expression reveals, perhaps, that we are interrupting, which the title ‘Private Property’ seems to emphasize. The shadows that are cast over her leaving her shoulder and face highlighted reveal only parts of the sitter, underlining that this is a private moment. Sanders describes her process as painting “directly in oil, wet on wet, using the materiality of the paint to create a visceral sense of light and form that feels empirical, yet maintains the physicality of the paint. From a distance, the paint coalesces into an almost photo-realistic image.” She is absolutely unique in her ability to achieve a trompe l’oeil realism while simultaneously maintaining a loose, gestural paint style.

Laura Sanders artist Talk with Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe