Friday, December 27, 2013

Laurie Burton - Hidden talent in Starkville, Mississippi

My son and I had an opportunity to visit with local artist Laurie Burton in her studio this afternoon. Similar to me, she also has a completely different day job, but in her free time, she is driven to create art. 

Laurie and Joseph
Laurie is one of those hidden gems in a community like Starkville. She is like the party that only the cool kids know about. You know the deal, people are all like, "there's nothing to do, this place is boring..." But for people in the "know" there is always something cool going on. Its much the same way for visual artists. Sure, some of us get out, put our art in shows, especially locally. But, by and large, we are only known to a few people. I wish there was a way to expose these wonderful local artists to larger audiences. Well, I guess there are ways. Anyway, here I am, living in Starkville off and on since I was about 11 years old, and I don't even know very much about the local art scene myself. I mean, yeah, I know some of the artists and have seen the works of a few in particular, but for the most part, I know very little about the fantastic art being created right here. 

A view of Laurie's studio
So yeah, I would like to make a conscious effort to learn more about what my fellow artists are up to. Of course, only if they don't mind;) A great way to see what these artistic jokers are up to is to visit them in their studios, homes, or wherever they create their works. To see them in their element. To understand how they create. To hopefully view the pieces of art that they don't typically exhibit publicly, those pieces that reflect the artists' true spirit. Or, at least, those pieces that are unique and perhaps transcend local stereotypes. Sure, I love traditional art such as landscape paintings, portraits, ceramic pottery, and the like. Especially when the artist is at the top of their craft. But, I am more intrigued by those unusually creative folks who find new ways of expressing themselves and constantly challenge the way they do things. 

Laurie is this sort of artist. On the surface you may think she is a normal person;) However, after entering her studio and gallery space, you will quickly come to the realization that Laurie is a pretty weird chic doing some cool trippy stuff. 

Laurie in her "gallery" space
Laurie seems to not have any boundaries and uses a wide variety of materials and methods such as roots of trees to create table bases, paper mache as an amazing sculpture tool, hand painting silk cards, creating mosaics on numerous surfaces, and various traditional painting methods. For me, with my penchant for drawing and painting semi weird things, I was particularly impressed with her bizarre sculptures created with paper mache and ceramic tile adhesive. 

I know people have been creating art with paper mache for a long time, and I have done so myself. So what's the big deal? The big deal is her sculptures are awesome! When you look at her sculptures, you would not know they were paper mache if she did not tell you. You might think they were made of ceramic, or possibly metal. 

That is cool in itself, but the subjects of her art are the coolest part. Parts of torsos and heads with various rusty bits of metal places in them, done in such a way as to possibly shock the viewer. At the very least, the viewer is left wondering what the heck was this super nice lady thinking when she did these pieces! 

Yeah, I suppose if I lived in Los Angeles or New York City, Laurie's art would not surprise me as me. But here in Starkville, in this bastion of super conservatives, its refreshing. Many of Laurie's other pieces were equally interesting, albeit quite different. Joseph really liked the small hand made poetry books that she created with the fabric covered covers and poems written by her with illustrations done by her. We also greatly appreciated the large wood and copper piece and random paintings of still life scenes and assorted other paintings. 

copper and wood piece in background with still life in foreground
beautiful Asian inspired paintings on wood panels
Still life of guitar and glass ware
Great visit, and very inspirational! Thanks a bunch Laurie Burton for allowing us to visit your studio and view your wonderful art. And thanks very much for sharing some of your methods with us! 

No comments: