Enter the silence of a world without sound. Laurie Landry paints a tapestry of emotion surrounding her life experience as a person who cannot hear. “I communicate most eloquently in a vocabulary of colour, shape, texture and line,” she explains. In a groundbreaking new series, she visually represents the threshold between perfect hearing and hearing loss with the horizon line. “I live below the line, and I can’t help but wonder what life feels like above it,” she shares.
White expansive clouds settle under a brilliant blue sky. Above the line, life appears vast and unlimited, but below it, everything is muffled, muted, and lacking clarity. While the canvas may be a vehicle upon which to vent a modicum of frustration, the end result is breathtakingly beautiful and intriguing. Who would have guessed that the horizon line represents the diagram a deaf person receives to verify their profound hearing loss?
But Laurie does not remain stuck in frustration for long. Her interest in sound drives her to record prose and poetry and examine the resultant sound waves. “These sound waves resemble landscapes,” she muses. “Why not paint them?”
And paint them she does! Her typical process involves thinking about a poem, reciting it, reading it aloud, and replaying the recording. Then she watches the sound wave graph or sinograph and lays down a wash of colour. Next she intuits the placement of the ever-present line, and the masterpiece begins to take shape. The strategic layering of transparent oils reveals a glittering seascape in hues of metallic copper and burnt orange. Sound bites rise as majestic mountains against a pearl blue sky. The image below the line is a reflection of that which appears above. While darker, it possesses greater depth. Could there be some advantage to life below the line?
Apparently yes, because there is a tumult of emotion just waiting to burst through the ever-present line with a flourish. King of the Seas embodies a joyful expression of energy and excitement. And the proud couple who own the piece can’t contain their enthusiasm. “We love it,” they exclaim.
King of the Seas represents the creative vitality of the artist. “If I don’t paint, I’m not really living,” explains Laurie. “It gives me a sense of purpose and a sense of place.”
And one of the places nearest and dearest to Laurie’s heart lies at the Y-juncture of Willow River and Williams Creek in Wells BC, where she spent her early childhood. The care and attention given to every last detail in this exquisite landscape demonstrate excellence in realistic rendering and a sense of peace and serenity. There is no defined horizon line in Still Memories at the Y. Instead the focus is on capturing the beauty of stillness and quietude.
Still memories at the Y reveals a versatile and multi-faceted artist waiting to take on the next challenge. Her upcoming solo show inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth is an opportunity to expand her repertoire with stunning portraiture and inspired landscapes. Don’t miss it at Performance Works Theatre on Granville Island from October 3 to December 22, 2016.
Written by: Susan Bates