Laura J Shechter
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in Fine Arts in 1965. I studied with noted painter Ad Reinhardt, and consider him to be my greatest influence, as I have absorbed some of his minimalist techniques in my own work.
Since 1967, I have been creating still lifes carefully observed from life in oil, watercolor, pencil, silverpoint, and lithographic prints, and I consider myself to be a contemporary realist. In 2002, I started painting and drawing photo-based cityscapes. My first solo show was in 1971 and since then I have exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the US, with many of my works being included in several museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum. I have taught and lectured, at Parsons School of Design and the National Academy of Art and have curated a few shows in NYC… In 2000, I was elected to the National Academy of Art, NYC.
Feminist Artist Statement
In the 1970s I was a member of both Women in the Arts and the Woman’s Caucus for Art. Hundreds of women, from super stars to old friends, attended the first meeting of Women in the Arts - which part of the art world one was from was of no importance. I immediately identified with the organization’s goals: more exposure for woman, aesthetic issues, etc. I attended meetings, participated in exhibitions, subscribed to feminist magazines, and marched in front of the Museum of Modern Art.
Because of the influence of that period, my work has a focus on decorative motifs, color, and subject matter. For instance, I have paintings which feature pink or yellow, usually considered unimportant, girly colors, as a dominant focus. Many of my still lifes also highlight ornamental or patterned cloths, wallpaper, and objects to reflect my interest in decorative arts. Some of my still lifes have implied narratives, some of which are overtly feminist in content. I did a still life of world religions that had my grandmother’s Sabbath candlesticks, cow bells and beads from India, and a necklace with a god from Nepal. An early painting I made was a self portrait of myself pregnant, holding a glass cube (vanitas-like) with a long dark hall behind me (the womb). At present, I am also painting cityscapes. I am drawn to views that have brightly colored buildings and use trees and windows as decorative patterns within the cityscape.
While I feel that male still life painters tend to be detached from their work by simplifying objects and using muted colors, I have strong feelings about the objects in my paintings. Female still life painters embrace the mundane objects of the home, ones that may be pretty or odd. Today large sections of the art world tend not to include the concept of beauty in their discussion of the arts. To be important, art should be largely monumental and somewhat reductive. I am a contemporary realist whose work is small, detailed, well crafted, and architectonic as well as lyrical, with strong colors and decoration. My definition of beauty fits within the aesthetics of realism and feminist art ideas.
My interpetation of an American 19th century still life
429 4th Street
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