Laurie Danial is a painter and printmaker based in Portland Oregon. Grounded in experimentation, she describes her work as process – driven and unscripted. She explores the connections between gestural abstraction, geometric pattern, and figuration, often evocative of the body or landscape. She attended Pacific Northwest college of art and Portland State University in Portland Oregon. She has been represented by Froelick Gallery in Portland since 2006 and has been featured in numerous solo and group shows nationally since 1991, including exhibitions at G. Gibson Gallery (Seattle), Portland Art Museum, Oregon Center for Contemporary Art (Portland), Schneider Museum (Ashland, Oregon), University of Oregon (Eugene). Her work is held in the permanent collections of PacificSource, (Springfield, Oregon), Oregon Health & Science University (Portland), and the Regional Arts and Culture Council/City of Portland. She has been the recipient of a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and was awarded an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship.
I am six or seven years old, sitting at the big dining room table working on my new paint by numbers clown face painting. Painting kits like these were popular when I was a kid and my mother would buy them for me from time to time. This kit came with several little pots of thick, gloppy color and a cheap bulky brush with hairs that stuck out in all directions. Painstakingly, I attempted to paint all the tiny areas with the appropriate color. Hours it seemed went by. In tears and frustrated with the botched results, I threw a small fit. My mother consoled me and said, “You’re just tired, tomorrow is another day.” My unhappiness was only exacerbated by the fact that I knew that my lack of success had nothing to do with being tired and that my painting would never come close to resembling the picture on the front of the box. To my mind nothing short of perfection was acceptable. This early memory marks for me a proclivity hell bent on an esthetic ideal. Yeats said it best in his poem, The Fascination of What’s Difficult, which for me draws a parallel to the messy showdown that ensues when painting without a script.
For me, meaning emerges from the act of making and not the other way around. As a process based artist, I tend to work with a kind of faith—earned through experience—that one can find something in nothing. A nonverbal, circuitous and wonderfully problematic investigation that is both daunting and thrilling. Integrating both abstraction and representation multiple frameworks come into play: cultural, gestural and free association, to name three. With an avoidance of the formulaic, I construct an image bit by bit by layering, obscuring, and building upon disparate forms and elements such as quirky grid-like structures, semi-transparent color fields and geometric patterning. These formal devices, as well as happenstance are strategies that I use to distance myself (at least for a time), from the specificity of a given image and consequently allow for the subconscious to guide content into being. Neither pure originality, nor an-all-too-tidy resolution are my goals. Rather, I wish to arrive at a compelling yet veiled narrative. To find an image which surprises not only myself but also engages the viewer in their own open ended conversation.