Sandra Lauterbach: Sewing Her Art

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Using the traditionally female tool of a sewing machine, artist Sandra Lauteback creates vibrant contemporary art from textiles and fabric that pull viewers into a stunning visual landscape swimming with color and depth.

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A Los Angeles native, Lauterbach grew up in the textile industry, gaining intimate knowledge about the design and use of fabric as well as the creation of prints, at her parents’ company, Alexander Henry Fabrics, Inc.

According to Lauterbach, “Thread, fabrics and yarn are my paints. Instead of brush strokes, I stitch. I see strength and power in the stitch…it’s a way of leaving a print to be remembered.”

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Strongly influenced by her mother and grandmother, the artist’s images build upon the past, while infusing her work with a contemporary perspective on the changing roles of women and the vast dimension of creativity that so-called “women’s work” can provide.

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Although she works with traditional materials, her creation process is hardly traditional. Lauterbach uses heat and paint to alter materials, focusing on the interaction between shapes, colors, line and texture. She uses this interaction to exploit dimensions in physical space and create a complex, layered, three-dimensional aspect to her work. The overlapping of these layers allows viewers to see both exposed and hidden aspects of the work. Swirls, circles, flowers, patterns, lines, and prints are pieced together to form a kaleidoscopic and transcendental piece of time and place. Drawing on her background in drawing, painting, photography, and weaving, she works primarily in fiber art, fascinated by what she terms its “limitless exploration possibilities.”

“Because I am a visual person, I am captivated by the perceptual nature of art. The viewer’s imagination is needed to complete my work as I intentionally create pieces that leave much to be explored and discovered,” she relates.

Lauterbach’s beautiful designs have the effect of quilts for the soul. Incorporating techniques that are similar to those employed by quilting, she stitches dream-like images of dazzling colors, often forming abstract shapes that with extended viewing take on more substantial forms.

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Her “Color Collage 2” with its swirls and feathered patterns resembles a bird poised for flight; the delicate fine thread stitching in “Arpeggio” evokes fish, fish bones, water.Lauterbach_Black&White&Red_Full

“Black & White & Red All Over” seems to represent many different layered landscapes, many different strata of meaning.

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“The Royal Peacock” is representational and dimensional enough to strut off the fabric on which it is sewn. The feathers from this delicately crafted mosaic-like image are made from intricately small pieces of brocade and other elaborate fabrics.

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Her “Byzantine Gate” could be a constellation of stars, a distant universe far flung across a glittering sky, or a map of a mysterious world. But in fact, Lauterbach describes the piece as “inspired by the gate at the The Peggy Guggenheim Collection Museum in Venice, Italy.” Created of interlaced ribbon, lace, and yarn on a hand-painted silk background, the effect is almost ecstatic, beyond any representational time or place.

Lauterbach with dog and Bysantine gate

Many of her works take on an almost other-worldly quality, something as much at home in a galaxy far, far away of our own imagination as it is anchored in reality.

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Her “Odyssey,” recently exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum, is another such piece, continents or constellations swirl, connected by netting and thread as near-translucent as gossamer.

Lauterbach’s work has been exhibited in national and international exhibitions, museums and galleries across the country, including the Laguna Art Museum, Los Angeles Art Association’s juried Open Show, and the California Open Exhibition at TAG Gallery, juried by Laddie John Dill, where her work received an Honorable Mention. She is currently exhibited at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. through early September. Lauterbach will be exhibiting in a solo show, Material Matters, at LA Artcore Brewery Annex on June 5th. At her Artcore exhibition, 8 to 10 of her abstract constructions will be on display.

Join Lauterbach in exploring the beauty and depth of textile art, and the reason “Material Matters” at LA Artcore Brewery Annex, located at 650 A South Avenue 21 in Los Angeles. See http://www.laartcore.org/ for more information: opening reception June 5th 1-3 p.m.; the exhibition runs June 2 through 26.

  • Genie Davis; Photos: artist, Shoebox PR

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