Stay or Go: 24 Works on Paper Artist Laura Reese

August 3, 2013

24 Works on Paper |

Interview by Jessika Davis, OVAC Intern

Laura Reese, Norman, Wanderlust, Letterpress and screen print, 8” x 8”
Norman artist Laura Reese used the traditional technique of letterpress in her piece entitled Wanderlust. Text in this piece is written, according to Reese, “to the way humans interact with the world around them, through (her) introspective lens, looking outward.” She said, Wanderlust explores a connection to Oklahoma and her personal familiarities of “oscillation between places, and immaterial experiences with place and identity.”

In your statement you’ve expressed that this piece appeals from your “own spiritual connection to the land and a physical connection” to your body. Could you elaborate on that? What other types of inspiration did you have while creating this piece?
Reese: I like to hope I’m no more special than any other human on earth in that I emotionally connect with my surroundings on a daily basis; I only choose to observe and write about it in discerning ways.

Growing up in Oklahoma, I so badly wanted to leave. I didn’t hate it here, but I certainly didn’t love it. At my first chance I moved to California. While there, I missed Oklahoma, so I returned.

Eventually, I made the decision to stay here, for now at least. I had to finish something I started here.
My poems and writings all come from an experience or several experiences I have had. Though they are my own experiences, they are no different from the average human experience. By highlighting my own individual experiences, I can connect on a very personal and intimate level to others whose experiences might echo my own.

Why did you choose the colors in this piece? How do they relate to the piece?
Reese: Orange and blue are opposite on our color wheel, identifying them as “complementary” colors. Together, they make brown, the color of dirt. Blue is sky. Orange is earth.  These colors, when placed next to each other, appear brighter and more vivid, though together they make a dull color. This piece deals with a lot of opposites and contradictions, in my changing philosophies about place. I want to say, but I want to go; wanderlust and homesickness are two halves of a same disease.

This artwork will be featured in the 24 Works on Paper exhibition on exhibition at IAO Gallery through August 3, 2013 and touring Oklahoma through December 2014. See venues and more information at