Thick dollops of bright oil paint crowd a glass artist's pallet in Laura Loe's 400-square-foot backyard art studio. The 48-year-old professional artist creates representational and abstract oil paintings in the yellow shed behind her historic Bon Air home.
"For me, it's all about the color," the mother of three says of her work that ranges in size from 5-by-7 to 60-by-72 inches.
A professional artist for the past 17 years, Loe is now a household name in the Richmond arts community, with past shows at popular galleries including Glave Kocen, Eric Schindler and Artspace, but she recalls a time when rejection letters and bills crowded her mailbox. "At that point, nobody was going to give me a gallery show," Loe says of her early days as an artist. So, she put on the show herself, inviting friends to her rented duplex on Grove Avenue for an art open house.
"I put out animal crackers and had cheap beer and wine," Loe says. "I knew a few people who actually had a disposable income."
For the past 17 years, Loe has continued the open studio tradition, but over time she says it started to feel stale. "In order to keep this interesting, you've got to constantly challenge yourself."
On a recent trip to New York City, Loe came across a pop-up gallery in SoHo. She decided to bring the
concept to Richmond.
"It's a chance to appeal to a wider audience," she says of the Laura Loe Pop Up Gallery, which will have its opening night April 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by an artist's talk and demo April 13 at 2 p.m. The gallery will run through April 20 at 1707 Summit Ave., in a 6,000-square-foot renovated Scott's Addition warehouse. (For gallery hours and program details, see lauraloe.com/pop-up-info ).
The solo show will feature 100 of Loe's oil paintings and found-item assemblages, ranging in price from $350 to $8,000. "It's really just going to be all about me," Loe says.