Laura Hallen

I am a multi-media artist as well as a certified Master Gardener. I work with found objects, artificial plant material, Plexiglas, and paint. The ways in which I identify myself as an artist, botanist and conservationist are manifested in my work.

My current art is an ongoing investigation of growing and interacting with plants, understanding their usefulness in our daily lives, and creating works based on my fascination of the botanical world. I find inspiration in the history of ethnobotany, plant taxonomy, the discovery of botanical species, and the evolution of existing and fictional plants. I am focused on my own discovery of imagined species that will exist and be useful in the future. In my work I mimic intricate patterns of plants by abstracting them through a variety of media. Since some of my creations are relief landscapes encased in Plexiglas, the natural forms are preserved and protected, much like plastic scientific specimens. My installation at Silverwood Gallery was an attempt to free the materials in these contained boxes, and shift to an unrestricted sculptural practice. I find flexibility and tension in working both 2- and 3-dimenstional realms.

My love for the natural world has moved me, ironically, to use artificial plants in my recent work. There is something so very wrong about fake nature that is simultaneously compelling. My reason for working with artificial plants is to continue my 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, I am giving them a chance to live an alternate existence in the naturalĀ habitat of my art.

I have exhibited at The MN Landscape Arboretum, Artistry, 535 Gallery, Silverwood Gallery, Kolman and Pryor Gallery, SooVac, Fox Tax Gallery, HI Gallery, Umber Studios, Gallery 360, as well as my studio in the Northrup King Building. I have received two MSAB Initiative grants (2011 and 2013) and have been featured on MN Original (2010). I received my BFA in painting from the University of Minnesota in 1997, and a Master Gardener Certification, Pro-Hort in 2006, also from the University of Minnesota.