Work samples

  • 1918-1908-1928
    (oil on aluminum). Panel 1 marks the 1918 travels of Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone to Europe as one of the first women to entertain WWI troops, following her rave debut at the Metropolitan Opera as singer and performer. Panel 2 shows the origin of the Charleston traced to The Grizzly Bear dance c.1908 San Francisco, the first of a series of “animal dances” and a scandalous break from previous forms. Panel 3 represents work from French couture houses, a radical shift in women's clothing and social norms.
  • _selfportrait_with_mask.jpg
    Self-Portrait With Mask, 2020. Oil on copper.
  • Lichen: The First Symbiotic Relationship
    (oil on copper, 27" x 14"). This is a take on history painting, commemorating "the marriage of fungi and algae” that creates extraordinary varieties of lichen. Fungi brings water and nutrients into the system and the algae can photosynthesize, while a fungus cannot. Inspired by the book "Braiding Sweetgrass."
  • Ghost
    (oil on wood panels). A meditation on the close proximity of contemporary women to a past that offered limited choices, as well as women who broke those bounds, like the Victorian Arctic explorers who climbed glaciers in corsets and skirts. The ghosts of both haunt women today. That's one way to look at it.

About Laurie

Baltimore City

One of the paintings in my portfolio depicts a thesis about the possible influence of Native American women's clothing on modern women's dress. I'm currently researching and writing on the topic for an educational publisher. I've always moved easily between media and forms. I’ve returned to Baltimore from Washington, DC, where I worked on contract at the National Museum of the American Indian and other Smithsonian museums, mostly in the digital arena. For many years I composed images quickly… more

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History Painting

I like to commemorate overlooked events in the representational tradition of history painting, yesterday’s news and natural history, as we reassess our relationship to the past.

  • North Dakota
    (Oil on wood panels, 1' x 3') Just before the Dakota Access Pipeline protests began in 2016 around the Standing Rock Reservation, I was thinking about the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota, so large and bright that they are visible from space.
  • The Dawn of Capitalism
    (oil on Masonite panels, 9" x 5'). Pondering the role of women and the demand for textiles in proliferation of the capitalist system, with its beginnings in the Netherlands.
  • Ghost
    (oil on wood panels). A meditation on the close proximity of contemporary women to a past that offered limited choices, as well as women who broke those bounds, like the Victorian Arctic explorers who climbed glaciers in corsets and skirts. The ghosts of both haunt women today. That's one way to look at it.
  • Electric Lightning
    (oil on aluminum). Representing the “sentry-box experiment” organized by naturalist Thomas-François Dalibard and performed during a storm at Marly-la-Ville, France, in 1752. It was based on ideas outlined in in Franklin’s 1751 publication "Experiments and Observations on Electricity." When sparks were visible on the insulated iron rod, it was clear that electricity was present in thunderclouds and lighting. Franklin performed his famous key and kite experiment a month later. My interest was piqued when I saw a rare bolt of positive lightning.
  • Lichen: The First Symbiotic Relationship
    (oil on copper, 27" x 14"). This is a take on history painting, commemorating "the marriage of fungi and algae” that creates extraordinary varieties of lichen. Fungi brings water and nutrients into the system and the algae can photosynthesize, while a fungus cannot. Inspired by the book "Braiding Sweetgrass."
  • 1918-1908-1928
    (oil on aluminum). Panel 1 marks the 1918 travels of Tsianina Redfeather Blackstone to Europe as one of the first women to entertain WWI troops, following her rave debut at the Metropolitan Opera as singer and performer. Panel 2 shows the origin of the Charleston traced to The Grizzly Bear dance c.1908 San Francisco, the first of a series of “animal dances” and a scandalous break from previous forms. Panel 3 represents work from French couture houses, a radical shift in women's clothing and social norms.

Psychology

 
My first painting sale, at age 15, was to a psychiatrist at the Towson Art Fair. I’m interested in the therapeutic aspects of the arts and the symbolic language of dreaming. Sometimes art provides the means for spiritual and psychological insight and survival.
  • My Indigeneity
    (oil on aluminum). Working with the Museum of The American Indian was an immersive and indelible experience of Native cultures. It led me to look at my family roots in Eastern European tribal culture, given form by the cycle of agricultural seasons. Many nature-based pre-Christian beliefs are still visible in textile motifs.
  • Self-portrait with Mask, 2020
    oil on copper
  • Sky 2021
    (oil on wood). Grey pandemic skies.
  • Sentiment.jpg
    (oil on masonite panels). I look for the line between authentic tender sentiment and kitsch.
  • The Elemental Opposite of A Wedding Dress
    acrylic on wooden panels
  • Jaguar
    (Prismacolor pencil, gouache, acrylic on black paper). Dream image, with my mother and son.

Drawings

  • Laurie Stepp

    April 2020. A city street with bus depot in a light rain at night. Apartment windows offer a view of people inside during the initial covid lockdown. People in masks wait in bus shelters or ride a bus that is pulling away. Colored pencils on black paper.