Through painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, and architecture, I explore the vagaries of life.
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Laura Elkins began to paint and create architectural designs as a child. She was mentored in architecture by her sixth-grade teacher, who was also an architect, and in painting by several artists in her hometown, Oxford, Mississippi. After college Elkins returned to Oxford to begin painting full-time. Visionary painter Theora Hamblett was a local presence and Elkins enjoyed visits with her at her home and studio, where Hamblett shared in-depth descriptions of her work. Later, the artist would share Hamblett’s earlier patronage by Betty Parsons, who exhibited Elkins’s work in 1980.
After living, essentially, a peripatetic life, Elkins, has made her home in Washington, DC since 2000. The artist has a degree in architecture from the University of Virginia, where she studied life drawing and painting, and has worked in all phases of architectural practice. She also studied at the Polytechnic Central London and Sweet Briar College.
Elkins received a grant, funded by the NEA, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in 1993, to create Why There Are No Great Women Artists: The Children's Room that translated her series of paintings, The Birth of Housework, into architecture. Elkins was the Forsyth Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2008 and joined the Santa Fe Art Institute's Immigration/Emigration Residency in September 2015. In February 2020, she joins the Escape to Create Residency in Seaside FL and in May 2020, Vermont Studio Center, courtesy of an Artist/Writer Grant.
Recent exhibitions in New York include First, She’s a Lady! a painting retrospective of 15 years of The White House Collection, at Tikhonova&Wintner. Yulia Tikhonova has also included work in many of her curatorial projects including Self-portraiture at the Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University in the spring of 2021; Fabrications: Constructing Female Identity at Dixon Place and the 7th Krasnoyrsk Museum Biennale in Krasnoyrsk, Siberia. Other exhibitions include a solo show and installation at Ground Floor Workshop in Brooklyn, and Sue Scott chose Elkins’s work for Studio Montclair Viewpoints 2014 at Aljira Contemporary Art Center in Newark, NJ. Curator and photographer Allen Frame has included the artist’s work in many shows, including in Budapest, New York, and Memphis.
Recent exhibitions in DC include United in Passion and Pride, a response to the Orlando massacre, curated by John Paradiso, director of 39th Street Gallery; Portrait of the Self as Other, curated by Thomas Drymon; 19 Ways of Looking at a Painting at Porch Projects; and three solo shows at The Fridge. The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College of the University of Mississippi debuted America Selfie autumn 2017. 39th Street Gallery exhibited America Selfie in January 2018.
A monograph of the artist’s paintings Summer in the City was published by Enlightening Press in 2015. Sundog Books in Seaside FL, Upshur Street Books in DC, and Square Books in Oxford MS have hosted signings.
Grants and Residencies
2020 Vermont Studio Center Johnson VT
2020 Escape to Create Seaside FL 2015 Santa Fe Art Institute Immigration/Emigration Residency
2008 Forsyth Fellowship Virginia Center for Creative Arts Amherst VA
1998 Mourning Becomes Electra Artist Residency with The Builder’s Association sponsored by Shreveport Regional Arts Council Shreveport LA
1993 Why There Are No Great Women Artists: The Children's Room Natchitoches LA art-and-architecture project funded by NEA, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Summer in the City monograph (Enlightening Publishers, 2015)
Dreams and Secrets Finding Art in Argentina and Uruguay (Art Papers, May/June 2000)
2021 Self-portraiture Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University Willimantic
2018 She Works Hard for the Money Federal Project #2 Topic.com (Joanna Lehan, curator)
2018 America Selfie 39th Street Gallery Brentwood MD
2018 What Feminism Looks Like, a Nasty Women exhibtion to benefit Planned Parenthood by ArtWatch DCAC Washington DC
2017 One House by ArtWatch Touchstone Gallery Washington DC
2017 Portraits of US Montpelier Arts Center Laurel MD
2017 America Selfie Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College University of Mississippi
2017 Film-Makers' Cooperative Benefit Auction Next to Nothing New York NY
2017 A Womb with a View Inner Space Jersey City NJ (The Vagilante, curator)
2016 United in Passion and Pride 39th Street Gallery Brentwood MD (John Paradiso, curator)
2016 Summer in the City monograph signing and exhibition Square Books Oxford MS
2016 Starry Night DC Arts Center Washington DC (Thomas Drymon, curator)
2016 Summer in the City monograph signing and painting exhibition Upshur Street Books Washington DC
2015 First, She's a Lady Tikhonova&Wintner Fine Art New York NY
2015 Portrait of Self as Other Studio Gallery Washington DC (Thomas Drymon, curator)
2014 POWER PLAY Laughing Horse Taos NM
2014 Studio Montclair Viewpoints 2014 Aljira Contemporary art Center Newar NJ (Sue Scott, curator)
2014 Fabrications: Constructing Female Identity, Dixon Place, New York NY (Yulia Tikhonova, curator)
2013 Stories We Tell Phoenix Gallery New York NY (Jessica Porter, curator)
2013 Homage to Michelle the Fridge Washington DC
2012 WBAI Art Auction Steven Kasher Gallery New York NY (Jim Wintner, curator)
2012 Packin' Heat Talkin' Dirty the Fridge Washington DC
2012 Empowered Marlboro Gallery Prince George's Community College (John Anderson, curator)
2012 Nineteen Ways of Looking at a Painting Porch Projects Washington DC
2012 King Me the Fridge Washington DC (Adam Dwight, curator)
2011 Eccentric Portraits Kleinert/James Arts Center Byrdcliffe Woodstock NY (Nancy Azara, Sylvia Leonard Wolf, curators)
2011 9 Harmon Art Lab Washington DC
2011 White House Negligee the Fridge Washington DC
2010 Unbearable Studio B Washington DC (Thomas Drymon, curator)
2010 Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival Silver Spring MD (Thomas Block, curator)
2010 PooL Art Fair New York NY (Marion Callis, curator)
2010 Found on Facebook Manhattanville College Art Gallery Purchase NY (Charles McGill, curator)
2018 Rachel Cain Vibrantly colorful art in local gallery addresses social issues The Sentinel January 10
2017 Andy Belt Oxford native’s artwork speaks to politics and American culture The Oxford Eagle August 27
2017 Jacqueline Knirnschild Honors College art installation ‘America Selfie” draws inspiration from democracy The Daily Mississippian August 23
2017 Steve Gagliano Laura Elkins brings evocative America Selfie exhibit UM Honors College Hotty Toddy August 18
2016 Mark Jenkins In the galleries: Spins on ‘The Starry Night,’ from critical to cheeky Washington Post May 20
2015 Jason T Borbet Price Ranges and Studio Images of 20 Contemporary Artists Forbes August 12
2015 Doug Rule Selfie Expression Metro Weekly January 22
2015 Mark Jenkins In the Galleries Washington Post January 16
2015 doris-mae presents Portraits of Self as Others at Studio Gallery January 12
2014 Johanna DeBiase Continuing the Legacy Taos Tempo September 18
2014 Sally Deskins Les Femmes Folles March 10
2011 Selections from Summer in the City Certain Circuits December 2011-January 2012
2011 Leah Taylor Laura Elkins:DCwRAP Flavorpill April 15
2012 Joanna Castle Miller King Me: An Interview with Laura Elkins We Love DC March 21
2011 Thomas Drymon Q&A with a First Lady Thomas Drymon Selects January 25
2011 The Art List Artist of the Month October