Artist of the Month – Laura Angell

By: Philomena Barry

Laura Angell graduated from GMIT in 2012 with a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art.

Her style combines various practices; drawing, sewing and painting. Her practice tends to be wall based installations, in which she uses images and handmade objects, that when combined, tell an intended narrative.

Her work explores the human psyche through darkness and humour, and reveals the things we really don’t want to talk about. Drawn to the subjects of failure and success she is compelled to explore these inner fears; her work focuses on success and failure, status and anxiety. She explores society’s psychological concerns and examines these subjects that we shy away from – secrets, lies, shame, fear and darkness.

She is an artistic, or emotional, flasher, exposing our innermost feelings and private fears by “flashing” her own raw emotions at us before hiding them away again.

The juxtaposition between darkness and humour is essential to Laura’s work. She likes to play with and explore these themes, often using humour to deal with very difficult realities.

Her more recent work has looked at the larger failures in society, while some of her work in the past has taken on forms of masks, containers and covers, covering heads and bodies that are bursting and racing with thoughts, worries and pressures – the message being that we endeavour to keep these things inside ourselves, while on the outside desperately struggling to give off a feeling of equilibrium and the pretence of coping.

Her working methods are labour intensive, compulsive, repetitive and obsessive. These methods can be likened to a coping mechanism; the process of making becomes almost as important as the work itself. Her work is laced with repetition symbols, stitches are straight and controlled.

Laura also works with “found images.” She doctors, interferes and intervenes, bringing a new meaning to these images that is sometimes intentional, sometimes accidental.

In both 2015 and 2017, Laura was awarded the Individual Artist Bursary Award from Galway City Council, and since 2010 her work has featured in almost thirty exhibitions both here and in the UK, including her native Sheffield.

Most recently she is featured, along with Paul Bokslag and Fiona Mulholland, in the Luan Gallery’s current exhibition, Other Dimensions, which continues until June 9th.

I think my favourite piece in this exhibition is a wall hanging containing the words “Just Be Average.” I Interviewed Laura on For Arts Sake on May 8th (click on the link below to listen to the interview in full) and asked her about the significance of these words. She told me – and I’m paraphrasing here – that people are always striving to be perfect, to be the best; to have the best car and the best house and the best job, to have perfect hair and a perfect body… but why? There’s nothing wrong with being “normal,” being average, with just being yourself because that is enough.

For Arts Sake’s Philomena Barry interviewed Laura Angell