Laura Stein


Artist statement from Paradise Now:

Working with life creates a way for me to explore nature and culture and their dueling influences on our existence. I like to examine the line between cultural imposition and natural development.

In the project Animal-Vegetable, animal-shaped molds are secured over baby vegetables to shape the vegetables' formal attributes. This creates a disparity between the object's natural growth cycle and a contrived one.

While growing, the vegetables exert their physical strength and frequently attempt to push through the limits of the molds. Some are too strong to be contained, but most conform to the imposed shape. There is an intense will to grow, regardless of whether they submit to or resist their formal fates.

Unlike their genetically altered counterparts, individual will has an effect on their development. I view my molds as a culturally generated pressure, an applied norm, which then gets filtered into individually aestheticized interpretations. [1]

Smile Tomato, 1996
chromogenic color photograph 24 x 20 in.
Green Pig + Smile on Vine, 1998
chromogenic color photograph 30 x 40 in.




Born: 1962 East Patchogue, NY
Education: BFA 1984 California Institute of the Arts [2]



Additional work

  On the Inside - Exhibition [3]

Laura stein at Basilico Fine Arts
Nov. 22 - Dec. 20, 1997

From the review:

"In this striking exhibition titled "On the Inside," Laura Stein, a young New York-born artist, presents eight color photographs, five cast-acrylic sculptures displayed on waist-high pedestals, and a video projected above a transom between two rooms of the gallery. There is a conceptual unity to the show, but each of the components, dealing with notions of outside/inside, could well stand on its own. The photographs are images of outdoor nature scenes -- flowers, sea and sky. They look overexposed or bleached out, as if while developing the negatives, the artist flung open the darkroom door for a milisecond, exposing the negatives to the light on the outside.

The inside/outside idea continues in the clear resin sculptures, which measure no more than two feet in any dimension. The outer forms are in the shapes of plants or animals. But each has an interior space hollowed out in the shape of a different animal or vegetable form. For instance, Mushroom Inside, molded in the shape of a strawberry, has a hollow interior carved in the form of a mushroom. Cactus Outside, one of my favorite works in the show, is a cactus shape with a faintly visible leafy vine carved out of the interior. In Mouse Inside, a rodent with a long winding tail appears to be embedded in the head of an antelope.

The video is also and inside-out exploration, as a meandering camera captures a walk through the maze of an English garden. Wispy but intense strains of music on the soundtrack, which was performed by the artist's friend Kid Congo of the band Congo Norell, add to overall effectiveness of this translucent, light-filled exhibition." [3]

Cat Inside, 1997  
cast acrylic, 12 3/4 x 14 x 13 inches  
Cactus Outside, 1997    
cast acrylic, 25 x 17 x 5 inches    
  untitled #03, 1993   Euphorbiaeuphorbiaeuphorbia   Cereusmamillariaminisculacactaceananacact
  color photograph, 40" x 30"
courtesy basilico fine arts, new york
  1993, potted grafted cacti
60.5 in. height
Collection of John Jahnke, Los Angeles,
courtesy Basilico Fine Arts [5]
  1993, potted grafted cacti, 38" (variable)
courtesy basilico fine arts, new york