Review:  Laura Lasworth paintings read as luminous reflections of life

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The three-page statement accompanying Laura Lasworth's show at Lora Schlesinger Gallery is useful for learning about the sources of the work but entirely unnecessary to feel the sheer radiance of it.

Lasworth paints in a dawn-light palette with such luminous clarity and devotional intimacy that her images naturally read as sacred icons. Her written explication and key bring into intellectual focus what the senses and spirit grasp immediately upon contact.

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One of the recurring subjects in this new group of paintings is trees, and in Lasworth's aesthetic cosmos, they are always isolated and leafless, emblems of singularity. In "Lichtenberg Flower," the branches, vaguely arthritic in their hooked returns, run bone white and glacier blue against a field of endless greenish-gold. The title refers to the branching patterns that can sometimes be found on the skin of people struck by lightning.

Laura Lasworth's "Lichtenberg Flower," 2016, oil on wood panel, 13.25 inches by 13.25 inches framed. (Lora Schlesinger Gallery)

The way nature imprints its fierce energy onto the body interests Lasworth, as do other forms of transmission, ostensibly less dramatic: the passing of heirlooms down through generations, or the conveyance of meaning through symbols, or as she prefers, arcana. Every scene here resonates with deep personal and often religious significance, even a tiny, tender portrait of a foliate-etched Depression-glass tea cup. Throughout the Seattle-based artist's work, a great reciprocity is in play between eye, mind and soul, between beauty and grace.


Lora Schlesinger Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Through Sept. 3; closed Sundays and Mondays. (310) 828-1133,


Laura Lasworth's "Heirlooms," 2015-16, oil on wood panel, 60 inches by 47.75 inches. (Lora Schlesinger Gallery)
Laura Lasworth's "Depression Glass Tea Cup," 2016, oil on wood panel, 9.25 inches by 9.25 inches framed. (Lora Schlesinger Gallery)

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