Artist Laura Newmark’s imaginative paintings of microscopic “other worlds” take the viewer to fantastical landscapes filled with undulating and graceful creatures. Visit her website to see more of her work.
My objective in painting the MICROSCOPIA series is to transport the viewer to strange and mysterious worlds and to expand awareness and a deeper relationship with nature beyond what we see with the naked eye. The hidden, the strange, the mysterious and the “out of the ordinary” are my points of departure.
When I was a child, my father took the family on boating excursions on Biscayne Bay. He would tie a rope around our waists and secure the other end to the boat. We would jump into the warm waters sporting goggles and snorkels and slowly drift along with the current, observing the teaming and vibrant life of the coral reefs.
The sensation of floating in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, environment of swarming, swirling and undulating life forms and the peace I experienced therein is what I try to convey, and what inspired me to create this series.
It was an extraordinary experience that ignited in me a sense of wonder and curiosity as to what lies beneath the surface, an awareness that other dimensions of life exist that we are for the most part unaware of. These invisible ecosystems that support and nurture our daily lives are the centerpieces of my work.
I marry and layer elements of sea life, plant life and microscopic organisms to create a portal into unusual and inexplicable worlds.
Later in life, I discovered the inner world when I learned to meditate and go inside. What I see and what I experience in altered states is almost as vivid and nurturing as the external worlds I explore on canvas. I’ve experienced moments when the mind calms down and the being goes into a state of alignment, a state of perfection, where time stands still and the external and internal worlds become one. In this world the stillness is deafening. This is what I often experience when painting.
In reality, the continuum of the natural world is in a fragile and precarious state. Today, organic life forms and biodiversity are threatened by environmental stresses which are of great concern to not only me, but many others as well. The question persists—will these organisms become extinct?
My hope, expressed in this body of work, is that they will restructure and mutate to accommodate a new environment. My paintings are pure fantasy, an exploration into how they may evolve and thrive and what they will look like. I take what is familiar and transform it into something that is ultimately unrecognizable.
I place an emphasis on color, depth and saturation of detail. My paintings are many layers of acrylic and collage and which are then sealed with matte polyurethane. This series was painted on Masonite board and cradled in one inch poplar.
I am now progressing to working on a larger scale with less collage and more of my own hand. In some pieces I evoke movement and action, but in others I try to convey a feeling of calm and quietude, the feeling of being gently suspended and floating in a fantasia—a journey into another world.
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