Laura Smith is a figurative artist based in London with a deep proclivity to abstract art. She graduated from her MFA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2012, won the Clare Winsten Memorial Award and was shortlisted in 2011 and 2016 for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize. She has always thought that being an artist was the only way to live as from a very young age she understood her passion to create.
Her influences are always changing as she often finds herself inspired by the work of her peers. This being said her initial inspiration was drawn from Giorgio Morandi for his sensitivity to colour and compositional balance and one of her most admired artists is Rembrandt for his humanity and the expression of deep feelings.
Smith’s colour palette is constantly evolving. She is keen on using subdued colours and subtle tones –usually some earthen yellows and grey blues – to create an atmospheric ambience. A recent visit to the Royal Academy’s Painting the Modern Garden exhibition drew her towards Monet’s palette and since then she has tried to reach for more vibrant and loose colours. ‘I have always liked the way bright colours sing when surrounded by more muted colours’, she admits. Most of the time she uses strong brushstroke gestures to catch the feeling of the light and reveal the depth of the colour. Objects have a controlled structure and the arrangements are of pure form, a sign that Morandi’s work has a substantial impact on her. She uses wisely her perception of negative spaces, lighting and colour to provoke a sense of introspection in the viewer.
Laura uses still life to experiment with the way we - as viewers - perceive objects in space and time. “I love the way inanimate objects evolve into anthropomorphic paintings”, she muses. A quiet simplicity, her work gravitates towards everyday objects to represent a reality that is not dressed to impress, but symbolises the potential of the future as well as memories of the past.
“The way objects are arranged can evoke a wide variety of emotions.”, Laura says.
There is a dialogue between the viewer and Smith’s paintings; a mysterious gap between intention and introspection which gives freedom and space for reflection. She has the ability to turn everyday items into personal subjective senses, promoting the symbolic status of a visual concept.
By Maria-Christina Antoniou