Laura Winn Clark

You say, “Hello” and I say, “How are you?” And then you “confess” to a terrible morning and we feel better that we got past “pleasantries.” But we didn’t talk about what caused you to get up this morning, forego more lucrative work and more pleasurable leisure to MAKE something.

What do I do? I make paintings about this creative act: oil on linen in various sizes, calibrated to the in-person viewer whose own physicality juxtaposed against the narrative 2D surface confronts the viewer with their complicity in the social order. My current work portrays women artists in their spaces – writers, visual artists, chefs and others – and reveals the unseen: the psychological realities, the social relationships and struggles that impact their work. It grows out of my own experience, asking, “How can I make being an artist work in my life?” For some, there is a problem of physical space; for others, the problem is space in their day or mental space. There is an effort to push back on responsibilities: family, work, norms, some abstract notion of “what’s good” or “what’s worthwhile”. The paintings are about how the intrinsic motivations of an individual meet extrinsic pressures; the result is a political exploration and dialogue based on individual experience. The themes are existential: commitment, responsibility/shirking, isolation/connection, the tame and the feral. My aim is to look beyond preferred narratives to the messier more intimate ones that govern our lives and animate the work we make.

In another series, I render urban backyards, where all – from the walls and patios to the trees and plants – are the result of generations of careful toil. I am fascinated by the investment in these spaces and the complexities of how these spaces operate. The implicit subjects are the women who construct and curate them, the time they devote to it and the parallel care I take in mythologizing their Sisyphean efforts.


In 2004, Laura Clark received a BA from Princeton University in Architecture and Urban Planning. Her thesis assessed how artists and architects utilize light to manipulate space and circulation. She then worked as a documentary field producer, making shows for independent distribution as well as MSNBC and Discovery Channel. Currently, she is an artist-in-residence at Kunstraum, LLC in Brooklyn, NY.

Never A Room of One’s Own, Oil on linen, 18″ x 24″, May 2022

“What is realism? Or, to be more accurate, what are realisms? For there is not a single realism, but many.”

-Linda Nochlin

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