Composing Common Worlds

The Town Hall Gallery’s latest exhibition Composing New Worlds, exploring the ways we position ourselves in the world, displays the works of six of Victoria’s acclaimed contemporary artists and there are truly some real marvels on show. We got to speak to one of the artists whose work is being displayed, Laura Woodward.

What got you interested in becoming an artist?
It wasn’t anything special, I was interested since a young age. It was always what I was going to do pretty much. I became interested in sculptures when I was around 15 or 16. I started working sculptures and studied at VCA after school.

Do you have a favourite form of art you like to explore?
I have also worked in video work and a bit of drawing, but sculptures and installation are my main areas in practice.

Tell us about your new exhibition, Composing Common Worlds.
The curator was interested in drawing together artists that created other readings of reality and the connections between things. I’ve worked with Kent in other shows he curated me into and the way in which my work deals with systems and that kind of thing is why he selected me. The process of the way how things connect and how they impact on other components and other things and how they came into this show. Overall, it’s a really strong and interesting show, the way the curator has drawn together artists from diverse practices and come out and see works quite similar to them. Drawing different practices and connecting the dots with them. He’s done an amazing job, stunning space as it’s quite new. Enough room for the art works to breath. A nice experience.

You’ve had your work exhibited in small towns, such as Lorne. How do you feel art shows in country towns compare to city art shows?
I think there’s as lot starting in regional areas, some interesting things happening, galleries doing very interesting work. The work is exposed to audiences that aren’t necessarily used to seeing that kind of work that is perhaps more normalised in Melbourne. Lot of benefits in rural areas, slightly different concerns and audience. There’s a lot of value in doing that, step outside the galleries that are more known in the Melbourne scene that have different scenes going on. No clear divisions, there are a lot of artists showing works at both.

You own an artist studio and teach at three different universities. How do you find the time to do all that?
I’m very busy! It does means I’m super busy and have to be good with time management. Everything I do synches in with everything else. Allows opportunities to the studios to give me space to work in, a lot of cross over, nothing detracts, they feed in to each other. Various roles in that.

Since you’ve been a tutor, do you feel your opinions on art have changed since you’ve had to critique your students’ work? Art is very subjective.
I guess with teaching you have to be, though we have our own practices, one of the aspects of teaching is that you need to step outside your own practices and observe other practices and be able to engage and be of value for feedback to students. I’m a strong believer as a teacher to show young artists to find their pathways. Obviously the way is potentially your own belief system. Being a good teacher means being honest to your own way, as well as engaging in other ways and being faithful. It’s really refreshing, being in a studio, you’re doing a solo pursuit, the areas you seeing a variety of other practices keeps things fresh and open.

Originally published here at on Monday 22 September 2014


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