“We’re a storytelling species,” Laurie Hogin said at the beginning of her lecture on her art and process for the Figurative Arts Residency at Otis College of Art and Design. Hogin said she was particularly interested in the ways in which humans project narratives onto nature, an interest that is reflected in her art. During her lecture, Hogin discussed her affinity for bright colors, her interest in using animal figuration to understand human desire and experiences, and read a short story she’d been working on, that centered on surreal experiences of art education.
Laurie Hogin is Professor and current Chair of the Painting and Sculpture Program in the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she has taught since 1997. She received her BFA from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she also studied cultural anthropology, and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Best known for her allegorical paintings of mutant plants and animals in languishing, overgrown landscapes, Hogin’s interests include examining human impulses, desires, and needs, including pleasure, intoxication, addiction, the erotic, totem, violence, greed, grief, and love. These aspects of human experience and identity, resultant of the interplay of evolutionary biology and culture, find expression in the history of visual culture, and in the nearly schizoid array of contemporary material culture. Hogin combines elements from the history of painting, natural history, scientific and retail display, pornography, fashion photography and other visual conventions, with narrative allegory, often describing political, social, economic, and emotional phenomena.
Catalogue your obsessions, even if you don’t understand them yet
Hogin shared what she said was her best piece of advice to young artists, a piece of advice that she herself received while in grad school: “Pay attention to what you pay attention to.” You may not realize exactly why you’re drawn to those things, Hogin said, but if you start to recognize them, you can begin to understand them. Hogin told an anecdote about her own experience in grad school, where she was drawn to creating artwork that involved pink fur. It was only later, after recognizing that the color pink is so freighted in American culture with different types of meaning, that Hogin gained better insight into what her own obsessions were telling her about her artistic interests and the meaning of her artwork.
View LA Summer Residency and Figurative Arts Residency Open Studios
Please join LA Summer Residency and Figurative Arts Residency participants for Open Studios on the 2nd floor of the Galef Center for the Fine Arts at Otis College on Friday, June 29 from noon to 5pm. This Open Studios is the culmination of four weeks of work from the residents. Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.
Halley Sutton is a graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design MFA Writing program.