Laura Ana Maria Iosifescu
Laura Iosifescu has recently opened her own art gallery in Barking, London. She wanted a space that is individual and speaks the heart of the artist; a place where she can be found at all times. With successful shows and visits from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Borough Darren Rodwell her gallery seems to be one of the most colourful places in London to discover.
Laura is known for her striking body of work which investigates the boundaries between painting, sculpture and performance.
Laura I’s art goes beyond the canvas. She understands paint as more than a means of creating the image. For Laura I. paint is a medium unto itself; malleable, indulgent and to be sculpted in line with its free, playful spirit.
The intensive exploration of colour, its composition and effect, as well as an expressive painterly gesture, all characterize Laura's style. In this respect, the composition of her paintings, which is characterized by colour and texture generously spread over the surface, is particularly fascinating.
An initial way of approaching Laura's oeuvre is to consider the way in which it is created. A less apparent influence behind the work is the role that machines and tools play in the application of paint; they are fundamental to the production but remain hidden. The fantastical landscaped imagery of nature is thus also a disguised metaphor for the artificial landscape of the 21st century metropolis. City landscapes use mechanical tools to constantly shift and re-shape the urbanite’s perceptions of a “natural” environment. These hidden mechanisms have a profound effect on the cultural and social milieu of city living.
Even though her works are formulated in a mechanical way, she finds influence in other areas of life, such as spiritual, magical and mythological ideas. Laura is particularly interested in non-western ideas of totems and fetishes, and the more fluid line between physical life and the spiritual world, particularly as seen in some aspects of traditional African, Mexican and other indigenous cultures.
She develops work with the idea of giving it life force and the potential to communicate with the unseen world. This can be controversial as, even though her work is full of life, is visible and tactile, she is more interested in experiencing the world that is unseen. She believes that through pushing boundaries and creating natural 3D forms, she can capture the sense of holiness within the work. The forms depicted in this series are representative of the artist’s ongoing exploration of certain fetish materials.
She confesses: "There is something within myself that is so overpowering, something that makes me feel, and is past sciences' reasoning; my energy is my soul, and that is something I cannot control and is something way greater than me. It is that which I want to know about and explore.
When you look at my paintings, I want you to see not only what is visually in front of you, but to actually capture the magical soul within the painting. If you look hard enough, you will actually feel the living breath of the work and its heart. Imagine a painting that is alive; like the plants growing in your window or flowers blossoming in your garden. You witness their transformation and in that brief moment of witnessing you freeze time; establishing a moment of unspoken unity between subject and object; a moment where materiality and possibility are overcome by the imagination.”
The artist’s oeuvre, which deals with both abstraction and representation, is based on the history of a whole host of references from ancient Greece, classical Italy, old and modern masters, impressionists to contemporary art – the idea of perfection reaching human creative potential, the exploration of colours and feelings, and the use of imagery to express language and communication. While previous series have explored one or other of these avenues individually, the artist’s most recent works are an attempt to explore both simultaneously. At the same time, they can also be read as the materialization of far-reaching conceptual concerns – most notably the interdisciplinary tension that exists between sculpture, painting and performing, as well as the dialogue between the ideas and ideologies surrounding the three traditional modes of artistic expression.
Laura is also interested in the idea of an undefined abstract space: an idea that she feels has emerged through the tension of architectural and pictorial space, and the emergence of a new form of space created in the advent of digital technology. Laura has responded to this by creating high reliefs that are possessed of a specific physicality, one that addresses the more recognisable space of the object, but also the new space of the abstraction.
Laura's work has an ontologically performative element, in the sense that she creates paintings and “wearable” art with the intention of immersing her audience in the experience of the natural world. It is this relationship between her work and the audience’s first-hand experience that transforms the surface into organic being and gives the work meaning. Laura explores wearable art as a way of augmenting the viewer’s physical relationship to the landscape, and also of the artist to her work: nothing exceeds the limits of what can be created by the human hand.
Winner of Bronze Award at the Master of Art International 2014
The Threadneedle Prize