Oil on canvas on board
5.25 x 6 x 1 in
Laura Vahlberg paints pictures that represent the everyday and mundane within the context of formal abstraction. While working she thinks about the air quality in a motif. Artist Lennart Anderson once called a painting "a box of light and air." She asks questions like: What color is the air? How does it tie together everything it touches? How is it unique? These questions inform color mixing so that within each painting there is a description of distance.
Inspired by Pierre Bonnard's studio paintings, Vahlberg works primarily on unstretched primed linen or canvas cloth taped to a drawing board. She uses masking tape to crop or expand the picture as the idea progresses in order to keep the dimensions of the work flexible.
She works on site in front of her chosen subject, nature acting as both reference material and active contributor. She acts as both observer and participant, delving into the process as intuition and perception dictate the direction.
In this context of dialogue inside the painting, a sense of redistributed hierarchy reveals itself. All of the pieces in a scene at the beginning of a painting are identified democratically only as shape and color. As the picture progresses, the shapes and colors create their own order in service of the overall idea. Often the idea appears first as a formal abstract construction, and then a narrative emerges. In this way an abstract experience happens within a representational field.
Laura Vahlberg's work has been exhibited around the U.S. (Los Angeles, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia). She has studied under artists including Israel Hershberg, Elana Hagler, Sarah Rutherfoord, Susan Zurbrigg, Ken Szmagaj, and Susan Jane Walp. She lives in Roanoke, Virginia and received her Bachelors in Fine Arts at James Madison University.