On Wild Inside: Paintings by Laura Westlake
By Pamela St. Clair
Laura Westlake plays with composition, color and pattern to hint at the intersecting boundaries between art and nature. Her paintings frame birds in interior spaces. They perch quite “at home” next to animal figurines and among china and fabrics designed in motifs drawn from the natural world. As a licensed rehabilitator of migratory birds, Laura brings to her art a keen eye for avian details and an affectionate sense of humor.
Details in a lace hem resemble the layered breast feathers of the society finches atop wine glasses in "The Wedding."
In “Blue Buttercup,” a blue jay perches on the rim of a white bowl, its jagged edge and yolky interior mimicking a cracked egg. The sky-blue tablecloth underneath becomes a field patterned with buttercups.
“Three Mice” is comprised of living creatures and their ceramic counterparts. An attentive mouse sits on the corner of a ledge. A cut-glass vase of smoky topaz holds a clipped narcissus. A titmouse balances on its stem and gazes down at its manufactured “reflection,” a cartoon bird figurine. The keyhole in the drawer reminds us that here nature is locked in art.
Laura studied at Santa Barbara College (CA) and The School Of Visual Arts (NY). Her interest in commercial illustration led to a 15-year career, which included work for television, magazines and print ads, portraiture and book illustration. She then returned to the fine arts and has been exhibiting in galleries for over thirty years.