Top-Bottom: "Blue Chair" 42 x 36 in., oil on linen on wood (2017); "Cutoffs" 42 x 36 in., oil on linen on wood, (2017); "My Venus Self" 72 x 36 in., oil on prepared wood, (2018).
Laura Tan is a figurative oil painter whose expressive self portraits are remarkable for their intimate and quietly provocative personal narratives. She lives and works in Miami, FL, USA.
I have been a representational, figurative artist for over 30 years. In that time I’ve delved into many different subjects, but my self-portraits–which have always been there, even as a child–have now fully emerged to become the heart and soul of my work.
Like many women, I wear numerous hats and fills multiple roles every day: daughter, mother, sister, caretaker, friend, wage-earner, artist—recycle and repeat. At the end of the day, what’s left? Not much—a weary human being who looks into the mirror and wonders where her life has gone.
Now at 55, I’m looking at how life has flown by, as one joy or crisis after another has consumed time, emotions and money. I feel blessed by good health and a loving family. But many days I’m simply tired – tired, having spent the day surrounded by loud, demanding, (often delightful) grade-school children, or just juggling the "million things…" Yet once I’m home I find energy to paint, often hours into the night.
These self-portraits are about celebrating the woman inside. I try to allow the contradictions of my psyche to emerge and to free myself of all other obligations or constraints. The portraits are about getting lost in the painting moment and being as articulate and intuitive as I can.
I am my own subject and object. I get to become the voyeur as I watch the eyes of the viewer travel through the paintings, absorbing the textures, colors and marks. It is no longer "they" who judge, possess, disdain or become indifferent…on the contrary, it is I who gets to watch every move and sense every thought—I (she) will not be dominated.
These self-portraits are about celebrating myself as a woman—and as a peer to all.
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