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An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

 
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PREVIOUSLY
FEATURED ARTISTS:

TOM ASHE

ERIC BEARDSLEY

BARB BELKNAP

BUNNY BOWEN

GERALDINE BRUSSEL

JB BRYAN

JOE CAJERO

MARY CARTER

ARTURO CHAVEZ

LISA CHERNOFF

RALPH CHURCHILL

CATE CLARK

MICHAEL COLEMAN

DAVID W. CRAMER

CREATIVE SPIRITS OF PLACITAS

SARA LEE D'ALESSANDRO

FERNANDO DELGADO

MARILYN AND HERB DILLARD

SAMANTHA McCUE ECKERT

ALVARO ENCISO

ROGER EVANS

MARCIA FINKELSTEIN

JIM FISH

JIM FISH

BEN FORGEY

C.E. FRAPPIER

BILL FREEMAN

LENORE & LARRY GOODELL

ED GOODMAN

EDWARD GONZALES

SCOTT GREENE

JANA GROVER

SUSAN GUTT

PATRICIA HALLORAN

BIANCA HÄRLE

LYNN HARTENBERGER

LINDA HEATH

KATHERINE HOWARD

BARTLEY JOHNSON

EVEY JONES

SUSAN JORDAN

DAISY KATES

JULIANNA KIRWIN

RUDI KLIMPERT

LYNNE KOTTEL

KATRINA LASKO

KATRINA LASKO

JADE LAYVA

MEG LEONARD

JON WILLIAM LOPEZ

GENE McCLAIN

GENE McCLAIN

BARRY McCORMICK

SARAH MADIGAN

SARENA MANN

JOHNNY MULLENS

TONY PARANÁ-RODRIGUES

GARY W. PRIESTER

MICHAEL PROKOS

GREG REICHE

LAURA ROBBINS

LAURA ROBBINS 2

MAGGIE ROBINSON

JUDITH RODERICK

GARY ROLLER

ANGEL ROSE

RIHA ROTHBERG AND WAYNE MIKOSZ

MARIANA ROUMELL-GASTEYER

MARIA SAMORA

GARY SANCHEZ

ADRIANA SCASSELLATI

SHARON SCHWARTZMANN

RAY & BETTY SHAW

DIANNA SHOMAKER

BILL SKEES

KATHERINE SLUSHER

LORNA SMITH

CIRRELDA SNIDER-BRYAN

KEVIN TOLMAN

MAX & JENNIFER VASHER

CATHY VEBLEN

DAWN WILSON-ENOCH

For more great local art, visit
Placitas Artists.com

Featured Artist

  

Laura Robbins

Laura Robbins in her Placitas Foothills Studio

c. Laura Robbins

Gray Water Kitchen, mixed media, by Laura Robbins. Photo credit: Barry McCormick

c. Laura Robbins

Water Meter Mandala, ceramic and glass, by Laura Robbins. Photo credit: Barry McCormick

The inside-outside of Laura Robbins

—Barb Belknap

Life for Placitas mosaic artist Laura Robbins is a trip—of artistic exploration. In this journey, she asks the question: What is home?—Is it your house? Your community? The Earth? She helps formulate answers by offering viewers of her work a closer look at the natural world.

For Laura, “home” is an important and integral theme in her artwork and, regarding that, she calls the notion “inside-outside.” Her series, “Turtle Beings,” exemplifies this mix of flora and fauna by showing fused-glass trees growing inside rectangular ceramic houses that are the bodies of turtles. Each turtle’s head and tail, made from richly textured slabs of glazed clay, extend from opposite ends of the house. They are enjoyably wild to just look at, but have a deeper meaning for Robbins who, through this work, offers us a look at humanity’s connectivity to the planet.

“Spiritual iconic fantasy is one of the three lines of approach I use in my artwork,” Robbins said. “The turtle beings and other playful fantasies I create let me explore the idea of ‘earth-heart-home’ and appreciation of where we live and how we are all a part of an ancient history.”

All this thought of home leads artist Robbins to add another element to her work: the Earth’s environmental health. As an advocate for the protection of the Placitas wild horses and member of Pathways—Wildlife Corridors of New Mexico (http://pathwayswc.wordpress.com/), Robbins calls some of her more deliberate subject matter: “environmental activism.” Together with her artist-friend Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, they orchestrated an extensive community cooperative seventy-foot-long glass-and-ceramic mosaic mural project in Placitas near I-25 to raise awareness of the migratory needs of New Mexico’s indigenous animals. Along a similar line, her four-foot-square artwork “Placitas Water Meter Mandala”—a circular water meter lid surrounded by a Southwestern mosaic landscape—speaks of conscientious use of water in the desert.

“The main thing with my artwork, at this point in my life, is to do what I want to do,” said Robbins. “I’m not a planner; it just happens. It is sometimes meditative, sometimes playful, but always comes from my heart. It’s lovely to do that.”

Robbins delights in working with clay for its non-technical nature and feels that when you lose your sense of play, you’ve lost it all. In her glass work, she does everything from scoring it to fusing it to smashing it with a hammer.

Laura Robbins’ late father Kermit Wurman also plays an important role in Laura’s creations and adds the third focus that she considers in her work: spontaneous design. “My dad was a wonderful builder and loved design, like Frank Lloyd Wright’s and in Asian artwork. So, I made a mosaic ‘Tool Series’ to honor him that incorporated spontaneous design elements with metal tool objects like drill bits and saw blades.”

This solid sense of design was apparent in Laura’s latest one-woman show called “Pieces,” which hung at the Matrix Gallery at 3812 Central Avenue SE in Albuquerque from August 6 to 28, 2010.

In the “Pieces” exhibition, Robbins’ quintessential mixed-media work titled “Gray Water Kitchen”—an incredible eight-foot-tall free-standing mosaic kitchen sink area with a tree growing from the gray water flow at its base—stole the show. “I am most proud of this piece,” she said. “It includes all three places I go: spiritual iconic fantasy, artistic activism, and design. It took two-and-a-half years to make, but between slumping and fusing and construction, I learned so much doing it.”

Before life as a full-time artist, Robbins founded and designed Bosque Prep School’s art program that considers art class of equal academic importance to traditional academic classes and taught there for eight years. Prior to that, she taught class in public school for about ten years. She received her BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and earned her Master’s degree in New York.

In 2007, she received a top award in the New Mexico Women in the Arts Originals show at the Millicent Rogers Museum. Locally, Robbins’ intricate mosaics intrigue visitors of the Range Cafés, Amy Biehl High School, and Acción. She is the first artist invited to exhibit at the new Placitas Community Library.

In the time ahead, Laura hopes to become more sculptural in her work and proficient at techniques, such as torch work, iron work, open foam, and fusing. After a recent tour of Italy—the mosaic mecca of the world—with her daughter Oli, she is even more inspired to work bigger and collaborate with other artists.

She has now joined the New Mexico Glass Alliance and is thankful to the many people she has met throughout her art career.

“I owe a lot to people all along the way and to those who enabled me to do commission work at the beginning,” she said. “I think that people aren’t alone in the world and that we have to support each other. Artists do their own expressions and it supports and links to others at many different levels.

“You know the bumper sticker that reads: ‘Art Saves Lives’?” she smiled. “I think it’s true.”

Laura Robbins’ work can be viewed online at: http://laurarobbinsmosaics.com or at her Placitas studio by appointment: laura@laurarobbinsmosaics.com.

     

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