New American Paintings/Blog

Social Practice: A Q&A with Laura Hudson by New American Paintings
November 20, 2012, 8:28 am
Filed under: Q&A | Tags: , , , ,

Laura Hudson (NAP #99) has been getting out of the studio. The Baltimore-based painter organizes participatory events, documents them on video, then culls her compositions from the nuanced moments hidden in the hours of footage. For her latest project Laura organized a sleepover at the Arlington Arts Center in suburban Washington, DC. The event was meant to be a sentimental throwback to the days of slumber parties — the artist and 15 of her friends ate junk food, chatted, and played cards all night before nodding off into sleeping bags. It’s all part of her painting process now, bringing her together with friends as much as it pushes her into the isolation of the studio.

The resultant series of paintings, On Common Ground, are currently exhibiting in the same gallery space where the sleepover was organized. In this regard they’re meant to function like a site-specific installation, integrating the viewer into the composition and blurring the boundary between the audience and the painting. Another project, Art Opening (pictured below), takes what is perhaps a more direct path at this, as painted subjects and gallery goers comingle in the same functional space.

I recently had the chance to chat with Laura about her work and her process. Our conversation after the jump. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor

Laura Hudson | Installation view of Art Opening | 2012, image courtesy of the artist

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The Masked Men and Women of Michelle Ramin by New American Paintings
August 22, 2012, 8:25 am
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Michelle Ramin (NAP#99), composes colored pencil portraits of her friends and family.  Sounds cute and cuddly at first, but not necessarily.  Ramin’s portraits depict those close to her in great detail, all while they are wearing face masks.  Creepy, yet personal; Scary, yet seductive, Ramin’s works are compositionally and conceptually challenging both on an individual and larger societal level.

Three Aliases, 22″ x 30″, Colored pencil on paper, 2011. Image Courtesy of Michelle Ramin.

What about masks are scary or intimidating?  What makes us feel safe?  What does it mean to feel safe?  What do we all hide beneath our own figurative masks?  Can you ever truly know a person?  These are all just tip-of-the-iceberg questions Ramin’s work welcomes us to ponder and explore. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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