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Laurie Steen

Laurie Steen is a Canadian Artist whose work focuses primarily on drawing. Heavily influenced by the natural environment in and around her family home in Devon, her detailed drawings function to her as portraiture of the landscape and meditations on the ever-changing surroundings of the English countryside.

Laurie studied Fine Art at the University of Calgary, then going on to complete her B.I.D. at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture, for which she was awarded the thesis prize. She has been exhibiting her work for over 25 years internationally and continues to exhibit throughout the U.K. Canada and Switzerland, where she is represented. She often collaborates with artists on interdisciplinary, performance and design based projects which continue to influence her practice.

Laurie’s work is represented in numerous private and corporate collections and she regularly exhibits her work internationally. In 2015 she was elected an academician of the RWA. Some recent group exhibitions include the 2017/18 Jerwood Drawing Prize, the 2018 and 2019 RA Summer exhibition, as well as every biannual DRAWN exhibition with the RWA.

Speaking about her work, Laurie says:

“I enjoy focusing on what isn’t there, the unsolved empty space and the power of the negative. There is an anticipation of what could be; an openness and great newness that is just around the corner. I am continually readdressing my connection to my landscape and the emotion of newness it instils in me.

My work has always felt full of paradoxes sitting happily beside each other. From lightness and darkness, emptiness and fullness, to finding the extraordinary within the ordinary, and the notion of ‘nothing and everything’. I am continually intrigued by the pull of negative space and more specifically how light shapes us and gets through the shadows.

This idea seems to play out quite literally in the vignettes of roads and nearby fields. I feel this whenever I am rendering the architecture of nature; there is always light to be found in the dark and there is a fondness and a knowing when revisiting familiar places. It all feels very personal. The hedge shadows are permanently changing yet imprinted into the landscape and are unforgettable.

The lines I leave on a drawing have much to do with making a mark at my first point of contact with a subject or a place; my first ‘pulling in’ or commitment to a drawing. The construction lines centre me and in essence reveal small truths about my thought processes.

Walking a place when light changes throughout the day allows memory to take over once the drawings have begun and time and space enters a drawing in the form of layers.

I have always seen nature as a series of structures or patterns within a larger natural order – our (vertical) human presence sharing space within a wild (horizontal) landscape. Images rendered are usually places touched with memory: a worn humanness, still and silent. A wholly unexpected moment, showing the extraordinary in the ordinary, that if isolated and remembered, could help me define the essence of my connection to and ‘way of being’ in nature. I like to think that these works share my human connection to nature , and in turn make visible a ‘humanness’ I see and feel in the landscape by rendering it. But mostly, to show that it has been remembered.”