Jessica LaPrade believes, and with each brush stroke she marks her canvas until it somehow represents her beliefs, flowing intuitively in shapes and colors to be viewed and contemplated by others.
A mix of abstract, impressionist and representational, her work encompasses the general idea that artists do carry some kind of responsibility, however small. “Artists are messengers of a greater responsibility,” she said, “The artists of our age are the nomads with the guided path to the future.”
LaPrade, 27, grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., where as a child she excelled in art, singled out to study weekly outside of school. “Now that I think about it, they really taught me all aspects of art on a college level,” she said, adding that many family members are also artists: “I really feel that art is in my blood.”
After graduating from high school, LaPrade moved to the Spokane area and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Eastern Washington University in 2008. About a year and a half ago, she and a group of other emerging artists became a part of Montage Glass Studios (recently turned co-op), an off-the-beaten-path warehouse space in an industrial area near the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center that houses work areas and gallery space for glass blowers, jewelers, painters and photographers. There, LaPrade has been painting steadily for an upcoming show at Second Space Gallery, 610 W. Second Ave.
The show, called “Amplified Growth,” will highlight her bold use of color and texture as she illustrates different perspectives of seeds and their outcomes, bees and their place in the universe, and the beautiful decay of flowers.
Using oil paint and mixed media like household caulking or beeswax, LaPrade creates pieces that flow and blend into organic looking growths and appendages or are organized in repetitive shapes like blocks or honeycombs. Similar to nature, her work is organized chaos, stunning in its imperfection and created purposefully.
“The subtle message of environmentalism in my art is a way to approach people in a softer light. With extremely bold actions or statements against an issue it can make people passive or simply turn them off from the get go,” she explained. “However, with an ambiguous approach, I can help people question underlying issues that are ambiguously staring right at you. If I can leave those hints to incline a person’s forethought on larger issues at hand, then I call it a job well done.”
LaPrade believes that we are all connected and with that notion she paints and is often left mystified by where her art takes her. “Interconnected,” “Pollinating the Universe,” “Divine Unity,” “The Flow” and “The Last Colony” are titles of some of her newest pieces that capture the pride she feels for the earth, the universe, and her fellow travelers. “Expression is a wonderful feeling, and I believe the same feeling or energy that I put into a piece, my heart and soul, can be felt by the viewer, or at least that is what I hope for,” LaPrade said. “More than anything, I want people to feel something when they look at my artwork.”