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Laurie Kaplowitz Explores Ritual in Expressive Paintings

Boston based artist Laurie Kaplowitz describes herself as a “figurative painter committed to Expressive Figuration”. In other words, Kaplowitz creates imagery focused on expressing her emotions, portrayed as ghostly, textured figures. Stylistically, she takes inspiration from Italian Renaissance painter Titian. He reportedly used layers and glazes in his portraits to represent the layers of human identity. Kapolowitz uses the same approach in her process by painting the portrait over and over again until it resonates off the canvas. At the same time, the subject appears light and airy as if disappearing into space. Her art experienced a change in style around 2010, which we feature here.

Boston based artist Laurie Kaplowitz describes herself as a “figurative painter committed to Expressive Figuration”. In other words, Kaplowitz creates imagery focused on expressing her emotions, portrayed as ghostly, textured figures. Stylistically, she takes inspiration from Italian Renaissance painter Titian. He reportedly used layers and glazes in his portraits to represent the layers of human identity. Kapolowitz uses the same approach in her process by painting the portrait over and over again until it resonates off the canvas. At the same time, the subject appears light and airy as if disappearing into space. Her art experienced a change in style around 2010, which we feature here.

The figure has always been central to her work in imagery and narrative. Her subjects were depicted in scenes of grooming or getting dressed through some sort of filter like a mirror, window, or binoculars. In her new work, they are still decorating themselves, but in a way that transforms them into fashionable, hybrid creatures. Her most common motifs are the colorful and translucent wings of insects and birds. Dragonflies layer together into elaborate necklaces, bird wings become flowing veils, and in one painting, a girl exhales wispy clouds of moths. She shares, “In this body of work I explore the universal and daily rituals of personal adornment. I’ve traveled to many remote parts of the world and watched people of varied cultures all go through the same daily rituals of applying paint, paste, and mud to their faces; bedecking themselves with vegetation, animal bones and feathers; and submitting their bodies to piercing, tattooing, and scarification. Here in our own Western society our daily rituals are no different.”

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