Printmaking and drawing are at the heart of Laura Widmer’s art practice. Her current body of work is a series of larger-than-life portraits depicting some of the people in her life. The works include lithographs, linocuts and drawings. Laura choose to use these age-old image making techniques because she believes these time intensive traditional methods have something quietly provocative to offer in contrast to the instantly available digital image of the 21st century.
In these portraits she explores the character of specific individuals in an effort to convey a specific moment of personal connection with each of the chosen subjects. This connection is of particular interest to her as she is increasingly aware of the shift currently taking place in contemporary communications. Increasingly we are connecting with each other through an ever evolving and expanding network of social media tools, and Laura’s work questions and explores how these technologies are impacting our interpersonal relationships and our ability to connect and communicate with others. In developing this body of work Laura sought to find insight into the following questions; “While we are connected; are we connecting? What happens when we read text messages more frequently than facial expressions? What does presence mean in a digitally mediated society? How does this alter our notions of intimacy? How efficient do we really need to be in our communications with one another?”
Through her work Laura likes to draw attention to the tactile, sensual subtleties of our world at a time when the word “touch” frequently references a finger-swipe across a flat, rectangular screen. She draws the viewer’s attention to the physical process needed to create these compelling images which is further emphasized by the handmade mark. These works depict the subtleties of personal expression through the accumulation of lines, textures and mark making which, when combined, documents the history of each relationship both creative and personal. At their best each portrait provides the viewer with an invitation to pause and become part of this relationship, if only momentarily.
Laura has exhibited her work in Canada and in numerous juried exhibitions abroad. She was one of twelve Canadian printmakers selected for an exhibition of Canadian prints held at the Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Centre in Washington, D.C. in 2011. Laura won first prize at the Open Studio National Printmaking awards held in Toronto in 2010 and more recently she was awarded the Muskat Studios Materials Prize at the 2011 Boston Printmakers North American Print Biennial juried by Jim Dine. Laura Widmer currently has her home and studioin Kelowna, BC. She earned her BFA from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan and is currently working on a Master’s Degree.