Meet the artist... Laura Wend
What was the inspiration behind the piece in not just a shop?
The piece ‘Synchronicty (part II)’ was concerned with notions of ‘looking’, realised primarily through drawing and photography. Through combining the two, a blurring of conventional distinctions between mediums occurs. Trees in my local park have often been the subject of my drawings. They remain a constant presence, encapsulating history into their inner and outer shells and act as a physical representation of time.
Who has influenced your work the most?
I often refer to the work of artists Ian McKeever and Guiseppe Penone as well as Dove Allouche, who works with natural materials and layers in relation to drawing and photography. I am also interested in John Berger’s concept of ‘looking’ as a political act and not taking anything for granted.
When did you know that you want to pursue artist career?
It is a cliché to state that art has always been part of my life but there is no other way to describe the extent of my involvement with all things creative. Art has helped me to express myself and to develop professionally. Following on from my BA in Art and Design, I knew I wanted to continue to develop my practice further and, in particular, expand my view of what constitutes drawing.
What do you want viewers to take away from your work?
I like to play with the way people are accustomed to looking at photographs and drawings through a deception of the materials used. I do this by working into my digitally printed photographs with mixed dry media. Photographic grounds emerge from a layer of non-descriptive, gestural marks and in this way, challenge the viewer’s perceptual engagement. The photograph resembles the drawing’s texture and the drawn marks imitate a photographic composition. In this way, the work requires the viewer to re-examine it. Is the work made of what one initially thought? Are there any surprises? Are we looking at a drawing or a photograph?
What three things are essential to your practice?
Notions of ‘looking’, the natural environment and materiality are all fundamental to my practice. I like to use graphite in meticulous ways to remind the viewer of the making process, enjoying the ability to create varying textures by means of different grades of pencil (9H-9B). The high quality 400gsm drawing paper that I choose to work with is also crucial to my drawing as it gives it a grained surface and deckle edges. Through printing my digital photographs onto textured drawing paper, new tensions arise between the flatness and uniformity of the digital print and the enriched grained surface.
What is the most inspiring place or exhibition you’ve been to in London?
I am a big fan of The Drawing Room near London Bridge, it has an amazing library completely dedicated to drawing! I was particularly interested in the 2016 ‘Double Take’ exhibition at The Drawing Room and The Photographer’s Gallery, which further shaped my understanding of the multifarious ways photography and drawing have been combined or extended.