I am fascinated by similar patterns found in nature: wood grain, water flow, venation patterns on wings, wind ripples on sand, and the movement of land over time. Natural forms emerge as I work, shifting between places I have been and small observations of nature. Similar patterns often become intertwined within a single work of art; Sand dunes flow with the wind, gradually transforming into forms like pools of water and wood grain, or wing patterns emerge amidst water and sky.
I work primarily in encaustic, a fluid process requiring heat to fuse layers of pigmented wax together and to direct its flow across the surface. Each layer reacts to what is underneath the surface and in response to the amount and direction of the heat. There is an element of unpredictability in working with encaustic that attracts me to this medium; It is in a constant state of flux while working, and an openness to change is part of the process.
My current work is grounded in ecology and biological forms but it is not merely reproductive of those forms. My aim is to reflect on the ways that perception, memory and time give rise to our subjective experience of the natural world. I absorb details of my surroundings and feelings of place, and I connect these with past experiences. Visual analogy aesthetically fuses seemingly disparate elements together and creates something new. I hope that in encountering my work viewers share in this process of meaning creation: their own experiences are involved in what they see. My aim as an artist is to expand human experience beyond what is physically seen by encouraging the imaginative reconstruction of our understanding of the world.
Laura Pereira is a contemporary mixed media artist and encaustic painter working in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the recipient of a 2013 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a 2023 Emerging Artist grant from International Encaustic Artists. Drawing upon experiences in both the urban environment of her hometown, Chicago, IL, and travels in natural places throughout the world, her work examines the symbiotic relationship between perception and human experience. Philosophical questions propel Laura’s work, particularly ideas about knowledge creation, and human conceptions of the environments in which they exist.
In her thirty years as an art educator, Laura has worked in schools as a K-12 art teacher, a museum educator, and an independent contract artist. Working with people of all ages to find connection and meaning through making art has been a focus throughout her career. Currently, she is on sabbatical leave from her position as the Visual Arts Specialist at The Friends School of Minnesota and is the owner of Open Art Space, a donation based art studio that makes quality art experiences accessible for everyone, be it in the studio or out and about in the world.