Lora Schlesinger Gallery presents Flowers from Mars, a series of small-scaled paintings by Laurel Bustamante. Like Persian miniatures, Bustamante’s paintings are elaborate and enticing. Flowers from Mars combines carefully painted human-interpreted flora with otherworldly environments. The environments are constructed with washes of gouache and acrylic paint to create ethereal and atmospheric settings, where microscopic gardens float and flourish. Laurel finds abstraction to be more poetic in expressing nature than realism. Researching botanical motifs found in history is an important part of her process. By combining and contrasting highly rendered flora within atmospheric and abstract settings, she is exploring the schism in the human brain between our delight in nature and our global inability to maintain it. Each painting develops organically without a predetermined plan. The contrast between vaporous washes and tiny brushwork is extreme and requires a slow, contemplative process.
Laurel Bustamante received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Oregon University, Summa Cum Laude. In 2013, she was the finalist for the Portland Art Museum Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, in Portland Oregon. She was awarded the Crater Lake National Park Artist Residency in 2001 and the Artist on Location Project in Antilles, Netherlands in 2000.