Laura Nicholson: art that challenges contemporary society
Laura credits Reading School of Art as the place that helped her grow in confidence and helped her to realise her art could be used in an impactful, meaningful way.
Laura was born in New York and had a diverse and varied life moving to New Jersey, West County Ireland and back to the States to Virginia. But it was growing up in England that really developed her into the person, and artist she is today.
"I feel I matured during my time in England, which has helped define who I am as an adult, but also contains pieces of my history beforehand. My childhood was very American, but I identify more with the style of art from England, which is where I grew up and came into my own"
Laura chose to study a joint-honours degree at Reading School of Art, combining her love and admiration for Art – drawing in particular - with her interest in psychology. She found that both aspects of her degree complimented one another.
"I feel my art elaborates my interests in human psychology and I have enjoyed making artwork that makes people think differently, or that can challenge their own ideas somewhat"
Whilst at Reading, Laura began to define her own style of art. Her work focused on explaining the narrative of the human body and bodily structure, influenced from western ideas and the western canon of what body looks like but also deriving from methodology, pornography and medical textbooks- what it means to have and be in a body.
"Sorry, but we don't carry transcendence"
Her degree show piece "Sorry, but we don't carry transcendence""was an installation based around a museum gift shop, a nexus that combined narratives of transcendence (art as a good in and of itself) with practical concerns and material desires (selling T-shirt reproductions and prints to pay the rent). These ideas were further developed to form "Constantly Terrified", an extended installation that combined her primary art form of drawing with animation, embroidery, video, painting and narrative work which was recently showcased during her residency at Modern Art Oxford (MAO), a leading UK contemporary art space.
"Each year the MAO choose three students to set up residency over the summer and my work was chosen to represent Reading School of Art. The MAO have gave me a great opportunity to work alongside other aspiring, ambitious artists who displayed really different, inventive works of their own- a great moment, really affirming."
Laura credits Reading School of Art as the place that helped her grow in confidence and helped her to realise her art could be used in an impactful, meaningful way. Laura credits exposure to visiting practitioners -through the 'Artist Talks' seminars and Enhancement Week workshops, in particular - that empowered her to pursue her ambitions as an artist
"Visits from practicing artists allowed me to see my voice as a part of a contemporary art dialogue and to challenge the opinions of practitioners, I felt far more empowered than I had before; those that stood out to me were the Kelly Campbell curation workshop and a visit from artist and performer Liv Wynter- a personal idol of mine."
And, Laura is so fond of her surroundings now she has decided to continue her work within the emerging creative culture of Reading
"Reading, for me has been liberating. It has given me the space to breathe and develop, the campus here is beautiful, the outward facing attitudes of the staff helpful and the studio space has really helped me to grow."
To view more of Laura's work, please visit the Laura Nicholson website.