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About Magnolia

Baltimore City

Magnolia Laurie's picture
Magnolia Laurie was born in Massachusetts and raised in Puerto Rico. She received her BA in Critical Social Thought from Mount Holyoke College and her MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art.  She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, and the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming. Magnolia has also been a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from... more

Landmark : Paralax View

This body of work continues my investigation into the idea of landmark while introducing the idea of multiple views. I have been thinking about parallax views and multiple vantage points and how they could be incorporated into a painting. But also how they could suggest the complexity of our relationships to the land we occupy and utilize. This exploration initiated ideas of multi-panel paintings that have the potential to shift planes and perspectives. Because we relate to information presented in a two-dimensional space differently than we do to that in three-dimensional space, things that occupy our space command our attention. To recognize that fact, some paintings are shown on the walls while others occupy custom-made wooden structures. These structures bring the paintings off of the wall and into an awkwardly active and insistent space that wanders in a non-committal manner between sculpture, picket-sign, billboard, and furniture.

The images draw from history and current events, recomposing mountain top removal explosions, aerial views of flooded communities, and the billowing plumes of oil train derailments. These are events that impact us all in some way or another, but our opinions and views are shaped by our proximity, our needs, our costs and our benefits.

This work was featured in the Baltimore Museum of Art as part of the 2015 Sondheim Prize Finalist Exhibition.


This body of work started in the summer of 2013 at the Jentel Artist Residency. Driving from Baltimore to Wyoming, I spent many hours looking at the landscape moving by and thinking about its history and transformation in the time that people have claimed ownership of it. Heading west, there is a sense of an ever increasing scale – it’s hard not to feel somewhat romantic and nostalgic about it –even if it is marked by billboards, signs, old oil drilling rigs, scorched hillsides, and miles of fences claiming ownership of it all.

As a body, these new paintings have a sense of conflated meaning. They imply the sublime and the history of landscape painting, while acknowledging the melancholic cycles of infrastructure and decay. Parallel to these ideals, I wanted to explore the more consumer oriented act of travel photography and tourism. In these conditions, what would be considered a landmark? l was interested in this term for the duality of its meaning as both a marker as well as a destination or place – it can indicate both where we are or where we want to go. It can be a point of reference in space but also an event or point in time, such as a turning point or a moment of discovery. In this context I could draw connections between the personal and the societal, the past and the present, the functional and the futile. With current political issues over water and energy resources, as well as what has felt like increasing severe weather and steadily rising environmental concerns, I wanted to incorporate the conflicting visual vocabulary that marks the land we live on and utilize. These are also our landmarks, they mark our occupation and use of the land, they mark a location, they will mark a moment in time - perhaps a turning point.


Continuing with some of the ideas from What Could Hold Us Together, this work spans 2012-2013. The paintings reference images of natural and made made decay and destruction. At times, the pending threat is slow, an abandonment and neglect that is seemingly just as inescapable as an on oncoming tornado. In the work I was thinking about time and repetition. Events mark time, these are markers of a moment of transition, a change for better or worse.

what could hold us together

What Could Hold Us Together is a series of work created for a solo exhibition at frosch&portmann Gallery in NY.

Within the work I wanted to pose the question of what could hold us back from the brink of falling apart, as mounting political, social, and economic calamities seemed to perpetually threaten. I wanted What Could Hold Us Together to read both as a question to a hopeless answer, as well as a resilient statement of hope and assurance of what will persist and endure and maintain. The title of the exhibition comes from a line in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. In 2012 I found myself rereading the novel along with Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and John Steinbeck’s America and Americans. These narratives of precarious transition with wandering narrators informed the visual language and psychology of the environments in the paintings. Within the paintings I tried to balance domesticity with survival, the falsity of facade and the reality of barriers, and the hopeful with the hopeless.

holding up

In Holding Up I wanted to explore the repeating task of enduring weight. This series references accumulative structures such as bird nests, entwined debris and residual heaps that remain after a storm. Within the series, delicate structures change and adapt, as do the weights or pressures. And in the end, the series is about endurance and survival, making-do and adapting.

all after all before

All after All before is taken from AA...AB, the Morse code for repeating a message. Often used to highlight or draw attention to a part of the message, it is a signal to request communication from whoever can receive it. The paintings in this series drew on a sense of pending ruin or disaster. Flags, barriers, markers and warning tape signal the somewhat urgent and awkward call for help.

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Magnolia's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.