Lauren Underwood b.1988 is a visual artist whose works are abstract and representational interpretations of her visual and energetic experiences of the world. She primarily works in casein paint and printmaking. She received her self-designed BA, Facilitating Creative Learning through Community from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University and continued her education by moving to NYC to take classes at the Art Students’ League of New York. The most influential class she took there was an abstract painting class with Frank O’Cain that made way for the genesis of her abstract style.
Her love of landscapes inspired her to work in plein air for a time, then imagined landscape paintings, and now, abstraction. Notable teachers she has studied with are Frank O’Cain, Phil Sylvester, Susan Gallagher, and Stefanie Dykes. She has shown her work in galleries and art fairs in New York City and Utah.
In addition to her artistic career, Lauren has also worked in the field of After School Education for over a decade, teaching art and now managing an after-school program. She is also a certified yoga teacher.
We face an unknown future: anxiety, darkness, fear, and violence are present around us and inside us, and I experience moments in the world that fill me with resonance and joy. Both anxiety and joy carry a vibrancy. When I sit down to paint, I look for ease and freedom. I explore this in the way lines and patterns react to each other at each level of my process. And, if we each carry a part of the whole within us then I find ease and freedom there too. In this body of work I let the resonance of my memories and experiences arrange themselves into abstract patterns and sometimes nearly representational shapes. The titles of my pieces catalogue the source of their imagery: Spring Runoff, Night Blossoms, Alpenglow. I paint in casein paint on one sheet of paper to capture a baseline composition and color palate. Then I cut the paper into progressively smaller rectangles. I work with each rectangle’s composition as if it is its own painting before I cut it down into smaller pieces. This process refines the original painting, like using coarse, medium, and fine sandpaper to finish a piece of carpentry. The pieces are glued onto a wood panel and a layer of clear encaustic wax acts like a varnish, making the image whole again. When I reassemble the rectangles, I am full of curiosity. What happens to the image when I break it into microcosms but continue to stay connected with its initial inspiration? What shapes will have remained? What new composition will have emerged? The grid preserves my attention to each rectangle for the viewer and the paintings can be experienced on a macro and micro level. The final compositions are dense with mark making and movement.
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