Laura Paolini

Laura Paolini
University of Ottawa (ON)

My practice stands between historical interrogation, personal experience, and the conceptual trajectories of contemporary art within an object-oriented framework. I am interested in complex overlaps and fleshy folds: the space where the “political” person and “personal” person meet, merge and overlay. My work’s exploration concentrates on performative actions and the methods we use to engage with objects. This exploration is humorous and probing, and seeks to organize and condense a vast array of passions and emotions. I identify politically as a feminist and a woman, and I hold myself accountable to all women and feminist histories. My work has feminist tendencies, through which I strive to make space for queer and marginalized people by acknowledging the mechanisms of power that persist and uphold the status quo. Trying to construct or unveil a logic to my work, much like writing or editing history, creates the potential for humour and failure, allowing various lines of interpretation to coexist. 

My work is conceptually focused and executed primarily through installation; I also work in video, performance and new media. My process tends to be cool and calculated, following a path from point A to point B. My work has previously been more interactive, and viewer activated. Now, I am exploring the ambiguous, auxiliary space between the viewer’s body and my own, or between an object, myself and the viewer. This space permits the potential for misunderstanding and finding touchpoints in other historical acts, outside the frame of art-making and art history. 

Recently, I have been creating a series of works driven by engagement with objects, resulting in performance-for-camera pieces. The resulting videos are displayed together with the objects mentioned above. Now activated, these objects exist simultaneously as autonomous artworks and as remainders providing evidence of actions that can trace or evoke an embodied life. My goal with this series is to trouble latent associations and expectations of gendered bodies, as they relate to domestic or interior environments. Doing so creates spaces that are both familiar and unfamiliar, in which the same event creates an opportunity to be understood and recognized from different perspectives.

Laura Paolini (she/her pronouns), is an artist from Toronto, currently living in Ottawa. Her artwork is primarily conceptual and manifests through installations, videos, and performances. She has exhibited in galleries and has performed at art-based events and fairs, Including Hamilton Artists Inc, Xpace Cultural Centre and Nuit Blanche, Toronto. 

Paolini graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2007, earning a BFA with Distinction from the Sculpture/Installation Department in the Faculty of Art. She has worked habitually for many artist-run centres, including Vtape from 2008-2012, respectively. Currently pursuing an MFA in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, she is the recipient of the Charles Gagnon Masters in Fine Arts Entrance Scholarship. Her writing and critical thoughts on art and art-making have appeared in arts-based publications such as Les Fleurs du Mal, Fuse, Musicworks, and ART International.