June 2022’s Featured Artist
Laurie Smithwick is an abstract painter, printmaker, and muralist. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, where she began practicing as an artist and designer as soon as she could hold a pencil. She studied art and creative writing at Duke University, and graphic design and photography at Parsons School of Design. Her design work earned her a Grammy nomination, and she has delivered a TEDx talk on the genesis of ideas.
Laurie has exhibited in New York, Raleigh, the US Virgin Islands, and Charlotte, and held her first solo show in 2018. Her abstract work reveals her devotion to color, tension, and hierarchy, as well as the balance between rules and intuition.
I spent a lifetime as a graphic designer, disciplined by rules: grids, letterforms, hierarchies, and construction. But after 20 years, I needed a shift, and that’s when I transitioned to abstract painting and printmaking. Abstract art has taught me to embrace unpredictability and abandon perfectionism. Now I explore the tension between order and disorder; rules and intuition. I am obsessed with the equilibrium created by opposing forces
I have found two things to be true: First, if the world is feeling out of my control, it is reflected in my paintings. Second, if I’m feeling out of control, the best thing I can do is head to the studio and paint. Making art is my way of wresting order away from chaos. More often than not, it provides clarity, which can lead the way to my regaining a sense of control, even if temporary.
These paintings were all created with this in mind — what do we do when we don’t feel like we have control?