INTERVIEW WITH LAURA PAYNE

4/13/2020



RA: Where does your inspiration come from? 

LP: My “Interpolation” series of paintings is based on the concept of the fourth dimension, which many have interpreted as time, but it’s not as simple as that. The late Dr. Carl Sagan describes the fourth dimension by explaining our inability to experience it: 

Imagine you are a two-dimensional being living in a two-dimensional world. One day, a three- dimensional object — in this example, an apple —attempts to pass through your two-dimensional world. Sagan demonstrates what this would look like by stamping the base of the apple on an ink pad and transferring the ink onto the surface of the world, leaving behind a shadow. Sagan then slices a small piece off the base of the apple, presses it in ink again, and stamps the new shadow over the old one. He continues to slice and stamp the apple, creating an ever changing shadow on the surface of the world. This is what it’s like for three-dimensional beings to witness the fourth dimension: one sliver at a time.


RA: Do you prefer to work with music, podcast, audio book, silence? 

LP: I wish I could paint while listening to podcasts or audiobooks, but I don’t have the ability to split my attention between painting and listening (to something new). I love movies though, and I’ve developed the habit of “curating” a continuous movie playlist for the whole day . My favourite movies to listen to are ones that are very dialogue-heavy without much music or action, like ones directed by Richard Linklater (Before Sunset/Sunrise/Midnight, Dazed and Confused) or Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, Happy Christmas, Digging for Fire). But whatever I watch I have to have seen it before, so my brain can connect to and follow the story while I paint.


 

RA: If you were standing beside someone as they were looking at one of your pieces - what are details would you bring their attention to?

LP: With my interpolation series, different forms and surfaces are rendered with different techniques and materials. I want to convey an illusion that these forms come from different dimensions. My base compositions are created using 3D modelling software, and all points of intersection are calculated for accurate realism. However, I intentionally add details that cause different forms and surfaces to contradict one another: a glow that only illuminates certain shapes, a shadow that shouldn’t mathematically exist where I’ve placed it. My intention is to create pause and ask the viewer to try to interpret how these forms, as they are rendered, could co-exist in three-dimensional space (because they can’t). 


RA: How would you like your artistic practice to evolve in the coming year?

LP: Over the last eight years or so, I’ve explored optic, geometric abstraction, in various forms. I feel that exploration is culminating in my devotion to representing the fourth dimension. I have no idea what will follow, but it’s all a process - mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and artistically. I constantly feel impatient, feeling already fulfilled by the current work I’m making and searching for the next level. Maybe that means I’ll start painting the fifth dimension. Or maybe I’ll start making invisible, non-existent art (though I really can’t see that happening, I’m no James Franco). But if I knew the answer now, I’d already be done.



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