Laura Phelps Rogers

A R T I S T . S T A T E M E N T

Artist Statement

As a contemporary artist, my three-dimensional sculptural process has had a focus on metal fabrication, iron and bronze casting. My exhibition work focuses on building environments and creating experiences for viewers. Digital and process based photography plays a critical role in my creative process, installation and mixed media works.

Metal casting and the technical process of substitution led to cultivating familiarities in a narrative approach. The backbone of my conceptual process developed from that narrative approach. Utilizing vignettes and small scale installation sculpture presented opportunities to layer personal, or somewhat autobiographical memories into my individual pieces and installations. I have adopted both a historic and contemporary viewpoint, where I develop multi-generational interpretations incorporating broad cultural memories driven by popular culture, branding and cultural expectations - with a critical look at tasks and outcomes. Allowing nostalgia to bloom into familiarities and blend together with humorous and playful aspects of life lightens the more serious tones of my work. I explore diverse topics, integrating social and cultural constructs to build and reveal layers to develop the narratives and familiarities I seek to draw out. Frequently I incorporate social memory and documentation of disappearing aspects of life while expanding ideas and concepts to include larger topics relating to changing cultural and physical landscapes - as well as gender shifts. Utilizing natural materials to highlight and express shifts is an important part of my multidisciplinary practice. From growing and utilizing regional foodstuffs to grass sculptures and crop art as a means of expression. These approaches often lead into the dominant portion of my work focusing on women and women’s roles. Investigating where women started and where they are now as part of western civilization and documenting those changes, within a 200-year window, has been my primary focus. Continually experimenting and researching a memory based approach, thru a contemporary visual dialogue, my practice addresses and references expectations pertaining to historic interpretations of women’s work and their roles. Pursuing investigations documenting time, place, emotion, reaction, roles, expectations, modernization, labor and change, I find myself continually deciphering my work and practice through self-identification to the west and womanhood. Comparing feminist ideology, the current feminine experience, the masculine role in modern domesticity and the continued marginalization of multiple groups is an element of my comparative process. Developing new works through critical examinations remains my priority.

Aspects of my gallery work continue to highlight determined women and men, their roles shaping our lives, the west and western landscape. Disappearing roles replaced by technology are often highlighted. Agricultural roots serve to provide material for my work as well as my environmental conversations where I am frequently able to place my work within the contemporary western genre. Documenting ideas and commitment attached to the western ideal and once wide-open space now disappearing is portrayed thru my inherent interest in the western landscape and how historically it has been portrayed thru a romanticized lens. The contrasts between rural and urban, sets a stage for past and current work. Fortunate to have had clarity of purpose and plethora of subject matter to make art from, the engagement of viewers, connecting the community and providing cross cultural experiences through narratives and site-specific work all continue to be a driving force within my practice.

As my practice has grown, so has the scale of my work. I now continue to embrace gallery work and exhibitions focusing on large venues and basing works upon the idea of seeing them in the outdoors and public places in monumental scale or as permanent large scale fabricated works and casting. Increasing scale and permanence is a primary focus of my practice - using gallery works as maquettes for those larger works. My husband Carl supports my creative process with fabrication assistance. Working as team, our projects utilize his skills as a civil engineer for the seamless integration of ideas and concepts with structural and durability concerns. This team approach allows us the opportunity to pursue our public and large scale private work through a cost-effective means to fabrication, installation, material choices and in-house scale conversions as part of the creative process.

Most recently my practice has also taken a shift towards social engagement works resulting in sculptural outcomes as a by product of social engagement practices.