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 work has had a focus on metal fabrication, iron and bronze casting. Digital photography plays a critical role in my creative process, installation and mixed media work. 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 into visual dynamics allowing me to layer personal, or somewhat autobiographical memories. Utilizing both a historic and contemporary viewpoint, I developed a multi-generational interpretation which incorporates 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 as well as more serious aspects of life, allows me to explore diverse topics. Integrating social and cultural constructs to build and reveal layers develops those narratives and familiarities. I frequently 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 led to a significant 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 into that visual dialogue. 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. Vacillating around a conceptual notion that we have possibly entered a post-feminist era and entered a new broader era where the current feminine experience parallels needs or marginalization of multiple groups has become an element of my comparative process to develop new works and the critical examinations required to perpetuate the driving forces within my work.

Gallery work continues to highlight determined women and men, their roles shaping our lives, the west and western landscape. My agricultural roots have served to provide material for my work where I place my practice within the contemporary western genre. I utilize sculpture and photography as means to create large scale environments, public work and large scale photography. 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 in the focus of my practice while 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.