LauraPetursoninthestudio

Laura Peturson

My studio practice is primarily rooted in printmaking with an emphasis on relief, screenprint, and papercut processes. I aim to create works that share visual and atmospheric characteristics, together comprising a description of a fictional world where the inhabitants navigate relationships between concepts of place, refuge, gender, and identity. My work is narrative in nature, and centers on a notion of play as a separate sphere from ordinary life. The artworks present a kind of undirected play ungoverned by adult supervision and rules.

 

Some prints focus directly on gender-related expectations placed young girls. In these works, the girls have been inserted compositionally into reproductions of 18th-century paintings. A toddler reads in front of a Jacques Louis David reproduction, taped to the wall of her nursery. A little girl holds a shadow puppet as she stands amongst Ingres reproductions littered across the floor. These neoclassical paintings reference a heroic male ideal, and present the girls with a differently gendered possibility.

 

I’m interested in the ways that the small domestic spaces we inhabit as children form our identity and our conception of our place in relation to family, geography, and nature. I aim to construct narratives that explore the experiences and perspectives of children in dynamic relationships between their environments and family members. My process involves constant observational sketching of my children, study of historical work, and the construction of fictional compositions drawn from my memories of childhood.  I am influenced by the work of 19th century artists such as Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and William Merritt Chase.

While many of my works depict interior spaces, the notion of wilderness and nature-based myths is present in many others. Developed from a series of drawings made after a tornado passed through the woods around my home, some of the artworks depict children exploring the tangle of shelters, climbing structures, and debris created by the downed trees. The notion of landscape as site is integral to my work. I am situated jus outside North Bay, a city on the cusp of Northern Ontario, the self-described “gateway” between south and north. The idea of a location at the edge resonates with my experience of childhood, and I aim to create narrative artworks that together explore the edge between isolation and family, between peril and safety.