by Thomas Hall – examiner.com
February 10, 2014
Last June, new Baker Museum of Art Curator Frank Verpoorten conferred Best of Show honors on Tampa artist Laura Waller at the Alliance for the Arts’ 27th Annual All Florida Juried Show. Last Thursday, two-time National Portrait Competition winner Carl J. Samson gave Waller an Award of Excellence at the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda’s 9th Biennial National Art Exhibition for her oil on canvas titled Approaching the Harbor.
Waller’s painting was chosen for the $500 Award of Excellence from a highly-competitive field of more than 450 entries from 27 states. In fact, Approaching the Harbor was one of only 130 pieces that Samson juried into the exhibition, which is regarded as one of the most prestigious juried exhibits of traditional two dimensional media in the entire nation. The show is produced by the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda every other year to benefit its programs and artists.
Waller has stated that she wants collectors to be able to come home, turn off their televisions, tune out the world and find respite within the four corners of her paintings from the rigors and stress of the financial, business and political worlds. Waller knows of what she speaks, having negotiated a highly successful career as a financial planner that spanned more than three decades. But at the end of 2011, she decided to focus full time on her career as an oil and watercolor painter, and it’s proven to be a wise decision.
One of the chief characteristics of Waller’s paintings is their softness. Waller applies paint to canvas so sparingly, it’s as though she were trying squeeze the last bit of pigment from her tubes of paint rather than making a run to the art supply store. But Baker Museum Curator Frank Verpoorten astutely notes that Waller intentionally allows “portions of the linen [to] show through so that her colors [will] vibrate.” It is this intelligently translucent quality that makes Waller’s work both seductive and beautiful.
The 9th Biennial National Art Exhibition can be seen at the Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda through March 9, 2014. For more information, please contact VAC at 941-639-8810.