Interview with abstract expressionist painter Lara Scolari
Influenced by major artistic figures such as Brett Whiteley, Helen Frankenthaler, John Olsen, Hans Hoffman and Mark Rothko, Australian contemporary artist Lara Scolari has developed her own distinct approach to the ‘abstract expressionist’ style.
As a prolific gestural painter, Lara’s coveted artworks are produced in a style that is beautifully organic in form, line, colour and composition.
Using a variety of media, developing experimental techniques and processes, Lara creates depth through exquisite transparent layers which reveal hidden dioramas. Each of her eye-catching paintings feature a beautiful translucent veiled colour palette that reflects the natural landscape.
Featuring fluid shapes, her stunning works are inspired by memory, meditation, music and the culture and essence of Australia.
Read on to learn more about Lara Scolari…
How would you describe your life in relation to art?
My artwork reflects my life and my personality. My artwork is gestural with uninhibited lines, marks and forms — this reflects my generous and free personality. My large-scale unique artworks capture my inner energy and the fullness of my life with layered transparent dioramas of colour, movement and shape.
“My artwork reflects my life and my personality. My artwork is gestural with uninhibited lines, marks and forms…”
Which phase was the most challenging? How did you overcome it?
In my life the most challenging yet fabulous phase thus far was having three baby boys within a four-year period — this really tested my energy levels. I was also a very young mum living remotely in the Australian outback with no family support nearby.
My art practice helped me conquer the loneliness and self-doubt that overcomes all new mums and also gave me something to look forward to and focus on. So, I decided to further my arts practice by enrolling myself into various art courses through the Western Institute of TAFE in Dubbo NSW and each week I would very much look forward to meeting up with this creative community and retreating into my arts practice. I began with a year (full-time) in Ceramic, this was followed by a Cert IV Fine Arts and continued through to an Advance Diploma in Fine Arts as well a Diploma in Arts Administration. It was with these credentials that I was able to secure my future employment with the Dubbo Regional Art Gallery together with an invitation to study a Master of Art & Design at the prestigious University of NSW which I graduated from in 2017.
“My art practice helped me conquer the loneliness and self-doubt that overcomes all new mums and also gave me something to look forward to and focus on.”
How long did you take to craft your art to achieve your signature style?
I started studying in 1996 and then I finished in 2017, during this time I studied every genre within the fine arts including, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, painting, as well as ceramics. I also spent time on still life, abstract, life drawing etc and was fortunate to be able to learn my craft from experts in their field.
It did take me a few years to break away from the norm and to embrace my natural free flow and generous style. I learnt that to be an artist you must be true to yourself and your work needs to reflect your unique personality.
I was always very gestural with my style, liberal with my mediums and a natural colourist — this is me and what comes naturally — so this is what I do.
Abstract expressionist is my favourite painting and drawing genre — I love the colour line and spirituality of it. I am very mush drawn to the works of Helen Frankenthaler, Mark Rothko, Hans Hoffman, Brett Whitely as well as many of my peers and fellow contemporary Australian artists such as the iconic Ken Done.
“I learnt that to be an artist you must be true to yourself and your work needs to reflect your unique personality.”
Do you think these words “translucency and dimension” are the most appropriate to describe your art style?
Yes, I love the idea of translucency. I use ink rather than any other medium as ink is transparent. Each painting takes me about eight weeks to produce and there are 40 layers of archival ink that I lay down. When I am painting, I am meditating and feeling the energy and flow of what I am creating on canvas. Each layer must be thoroughly dry before I can apply the next to keep the depth of the colour true. Collectors have commented that my works remind them of stained-glass windows because you can see light through the layers, and I love that.
Regarding dimension — yes, my works are large as I am an action/gestural painter. Dimension is very important because I create using my physical full reach — the works are life size. It’s harder for me to draw smaller and I find I feel too cramped and restricted on a smaller canvas.
“Dimension is very important because I create using my physical full reach — the works are life size.”
Which level of being an artist do you strive to become? What is your next goal?
I want to continue to evolve and develop my work and my processes in the studio as well as further exploring my theme of Energy — what does energy look like — how do we articulate energy visually? Looking deeper and focusing on the life force beneath the surface that you don’t necessarily see straight away. I encourage people to look deeper and to be confident with their thoughts. There is power in not worrying at all about what anybody else thinks. What they see in the works is what it is. Be true to yourself and your style.
I would love to have more of my artworks acquired by national and international institutions and be included in really strong national collections. My next goal is to exhibit in Singapore and I am very excited about that.
“Be true to yourself and your style.” ~ Lara Scolari
Originally published at https://www.thecrazymind.com.