My artwork emerges from childhood longings: A little
girl’s fascination with flowers. A greedy toddler’s
lust for shiny objects. The wish that birds could talk, that
trees could share their secrets. My walks to and from school
took me through through an urban forest ruled by squirrels
and cardinals, where oaks and maples crowded in on the
houses, weeds invaded the alleys, and blades of grass
muscled through sidewalk cracks. I drew inspiration from
shapes and patterns in nature—seed pods, icicles, wood grains.
I found myself entranced by desert plants and marine creatures,
as well as textiles and other traditional designs.
When it comes to other artists, I revel in the playful
shape consciousness of early 20th-century experimenters such as Hilma af Klint,
Sophie Tauber-Arp and Paul Klee, as carried forward in the work of later
artists such as Alexander Calder. I admire many Japanese painters and
Cape Dorset Inuit print makers, on the one hand, for the austerity and
precision of their simplifications and contemporary artists Beatriz Milhazes
and Melinda Hackett, on the other hand, for their unrestrained embrace of
riotous ornamentation. Though my work little resembles theirs, I cherish the artists of the
California figurative movement for their navigation of liminal space
between representation and abstraction. Among other collagists, I look to
Romare Bearden, Lee Krasner, and Conrad Marca-Relli.
Over the years, I have developed an exploratory process of repainting, cutting,
and fitting old paintings, drawings, and sketchbook pages. Though I
work primarily in acrylic paint, I also collage with ink, pastel,
watercolor, graphite, opaque marker, magazine pages,
and junk mail.
Email: Laura Shefler at Lshefler [dot] aol [dot] com