Laura Wooten, Mediterranean Panorama, acrylic on panel, 60 x 280 inches, 2015
Laura Wooten: Artist Statement

Through a close observation of the natural world, with layers of memory and invention, I create artwork that values our human connection to the landscape. The artwork at Orzo depicts colorful and imaginative scenes of Italy, Spain, Greece, and the South of France. These places have inspired the creative imaginations of the Orzo family, both in the kitchen & dining room, and in the painting studio. As a co-owner at Orzo, it was a joy to combine our collective travel experiences and inspirations into large-scale works that express our on-going passion for the food, wine, landscapes, and culture of this region. Whether I am tasting a new seasonal dish at Orzo, cooking from the garden at home, or sharing a special meal while traveling abroad, I cherish the connections between landscape, culture, and family that shape our food traditions, our sense of place, and our feelings of belonging.

I earned my undergraduate degree in Art and Architecture at the University of Virginia and continued on at UVA as an Aunspaugh Post-Baccalaureate Fellow in Studio Art before earning my MFA from American University in Washington, D.C. During graduate school, I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Perugia, Italy, at the Accademia de Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci, where the panoramic Mediterranean landscape took hold of my imagination.

My current work reflects my interest in painting the landscape of my daily experience: the fields and meadows of central Virginia, views to the distant Blue Ridge Mountains from my hilltop neighborhood, and the shapes of color and light in my own backyard. My paintings explore the places they represent, as well as the inner landscape of my experience and how it might be shared. Color, shape, and mark fall in service to the perception of an emotional presence in the land that is both highly personal and universally human. The landscape painting becomes a mirror into our own histories, reveries, and associations.

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