ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present All Of My Fear In A Single Flower, an exhibition in the Project Space featuring new paintings by multidisciplinary artist Laura Dawe. The exhibition will be on view from September 7 to October 5. The opening reception with the artist is on Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
In visual art, still lives are often used as metaphors reminding us that life is short and shouldn’t be squandered. Laura Dawe’s paintings of abandoned wedding bouquets consider this idea through the lens of American psychologist Abraham Maslow’s concept of transcendence.
Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs states that once we have established physical security and emotional bonding, humans are motivated to work toward higher desires like social esteem and, eventually, a holistic transcendence in which one relates to the self, others and the environment not simply as a means to achieve an external goal, but a fulfilling end in itself.
The bouquets in Dawe’s paintings have served what we deem to be their purpose, but Dawe says that “the flowers themselves certainly did not consider the wedding to be more important than the rest of their lives.”
We tend to think that the big events in life, picture perfect and ready for Instagram, add the most to our identity. Dawe’s work testifies to the fact that we are fulfilling a purpose during the in-between times, too. A wedding is meaningful, but does not define a marriage. Seemingly insignificant moments contribute the most deeply to our ability to transcend our more basic needs, if we reflect on them.
Recognizing what is valuable in the moment is important to Dawe, especially while in the studio. She usually leaps directly into a painting. Working from flowers that are in a creeping state of decay doesn’t allow for pre-planning. Instead, Dawe relies on an unimpeded relationship – a flow – between her eye and hand, concerning herself less with conveying realistic forms than capturing effects that will draw from the viewer an emotional reaction.
“How someone responds to a painting will reflect where they’re at in their lives and how they’re feeling in the moment,” she says. “In that way, paintings are mirrors.”
Laura Dawe is a painter, performer and educator. She holds an MFA from OCADU and teaches monthly Joyful Still Lives drawing workshops at her Toronto studio.