Laura Hallen is a multi-media artist, with a background in painting, as well as a certified Master Gardener, who works primarily with found objects, artificial plant material, Plexiglas and paint. The ways in which she indentifies herself as an artist, botanist and conservationist are manifested in her work.
Laura Hallen’s current art is a culmination of growing and interacting with plants, and understanding their usefulness in her daily life. She finds inspiration in the history of taxonomy, the discovery of botanical species, and the evolution of existing and fictional plants. Her visual practice is focused on her own discovery and invention of imaginary plants that will exist, and be useful in the future. In her art, she mimics intricate patterns of plants by abstracting them into through a variety of media. Since Laura’s creations are relief landscapes encased in Plexiglas, the natural forms are preserved and protected much like plastic scientific specimens, or like an insect trapped in amber.
Laura’s love for the natural world has turned her to the ridiculousness of artificial plants and environments surrounded with plastic foliage. They are a fascinating contradiction: fake ‘life’ that imitates real life, and an unsavory way to fill a decorative void. Instead of being cared for, these artificial plants usually become neglected; creating a lifeless affect that is sad and disappointing. Expanding her interest in plant life, Laura ‘harvests’ artificial plants, from public spaces such as gyms, hotels and banks. Once she has the plants in her studio, she transforms and incorporates them into her art. Her reason for doing so is to continue her method of conserving ‘plant life’ but also to think of them as a visual metaphor for the destruction, substitution, and extinction of real plants. By working with these fictional plants, she feels she is giving them a chance to live an alternate existence in the “natural” habitat of her art.
Laura Hallen has exhibited at galleries such as SooVac, Fox Tax Gallery, HI Gallery, Umber Studios, Gallery 360, local restaurants and boutiques, as well as her studio in the Northrup King Building. With a 2013 MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant she traveled to the Millennium Seed Bank in the United Kingdom, where she was given access to the world’s largest seed conservation archive to research and gather inspiration for her artwork. She then showcased these new paintings at the MN Landscape Arboretum in the fall of 2013. Laura has been selected to have 2 different shows in the next two years, a site-specific installation at Silverwood Gallery in 2015, and an exhibit at the Bloomington Art Center, Inez Gallery in 2016.Studio Number: 428