Lauren Ivey is primarily a painter who recently began expanding her body of work off of the traditional canvas. Her subject matter changes with time and experiences, but always returns to nature. With a life time love of the environment she searches for ways to make the viewer develop that same passion. Early compositions often evoked the style of Georgia O’Keefe, although Ivey’s technique was more photo-realistic. Originally trained in acrylics, she discovered oil paints later on which opened up doors to fine tuning her realistic approach. Over time though her work has become more abstract and graphic, leaving the photo-realism behind in both composition and in the application of paint.
Originally from New Jersey and schooled in the northeast, her interests lay in science and art. The restlessness to explore moved her from one venue to another, including studies abroad and back at home in the states. She received a BA in Fine Arts and a minor in Sociology. After graduation she returned for credits in landscaping and learned to scuba dive. The diving took her on many trips throughout the Caribbean and fed her deep love for the oceans.
In 2006, while working to design a mural to calm a bathing room in a facility for folks with dementia, she created a stamp of an abstract cherry blossom. The use of stamping created an immediate image without the control and study of the paintbrush. The combination of brushstroke application of paint as well as a stamped application returned repeatedly to enamor and challenge her. Her backgrounds have a variety of textures, from heavy impasto to almost water color thinness. Sometimes smooth layers are deep, with stamping underneath that add textures that are hard to perceive unless in front of the actual canvas. A stamped “frame” appears often, reflecting influences of Japanese screens.
Wanting to bring attention to the frailty and beauty of the environment, portions of her work seek to present some of nature’s less lovable creatures in a light of beauty. “Joseph Campbell once said, ‘…I had someone once tell me, just think of a thing Thou instead of It and then our experience changes.’” In presenting certain animals within the oceans, the stamping techniques plays a huge role. “The stamping of a frame seems to almost create a safety for people to view an animal they might otherwise be afraid of. It also adds beauty and sometimes a bit of glamour. Adding flowers never hurts either.” A triptych of jelly fish painted by the artist allows the viewer to feel the languid quality of these ancient animals as though behind a glass enclosure. She is now working a series of which she jokingly refers to as ‘sharks with flowers’. "Both of these animals have been in our oceans basically since the time of the dinosaurs. Both populations, through human interaction, are now out of balance and affecting the entire ecosystems of the oceans. People fear and demonize them. That belief needs to change,” says Ivey.
As a painter she seeks to find that sweet spot between the realism and the magic that she has felt in nature since childhood. “When I was painting photo-realistically I always had a sense of where my start and finish were. Now I never really know what’s going to happen. There is certainly more waste, as I throw things out regularly. But there is also more play. And that is good for me.” There are times when only part of a canvas calls to her. Cutting out those sections and applying to a fresh canvas she begins again. Outside the realm of a canvas, Ivey is working with inkjet reverse applications of her work. To these she adds paper, acrylic, oils and other media to create smaller pieces as exercises for her brain. Her work continues to evolve, explore, and evoke.