Connecting to Art: Lawrie Crawford exhibits new abstracts at Gallery 22

There’s a new artist in town.

She’s opened her second exhibit in Whitehorse, Connecting Space, to showcase her newest display of large and colourful works of art. She paints in the abstract, drawing largely upon intuition to guide her strokes.

Her name is Lawrie Crawford, and she doesn’t use a paintbrush.

“I’ve never used a brush,” she says.

Instead, she utilizes a tool called a colour-shaper.

“They are like little spatulas,” she explains. “I learned from an artist at the Ted Harrison retreat by the name of Verne Busby. I just started making them bigger and using them to push the paint around.”

Crawford starts her work without a landscape, figure, or even an emotion in mind, and tries to leave the form up to the art itself.

“The process determines what happens,” she says. “There’s not that much that’s up to me. I get to determine when to stop, and when it’s done. Which is a hard thing – that’s a really hard thing. But that’s what makes them truly original pieces of art – even I can’t duplicate it.”

She was able to complete the artwork in her current display in just eight weeks. Though the Yukon summer helped her make the most of that time.

“I worked really hard and I gave up everything, using all the daylight hours available — but there was a lot of daylight,” she says.

Crawford is also quick to acknowledge the help she has received from people within her community. It was partly these helpful relationships that led to naming the exhibit Connecting Space.

“I see this show as a result of connections with other people that have allowed me either the freedom, the space, the collaborations or the knowledge that I needed in order to pull this off in such a sort period of time,” Crawford says. “That’s why the titles of all the paintings are active verbs that people need to do in order to be authentic and to be in relationships or to be connected to other human beings.”

Crawford has spent much of her life as a writer, working in non-fiction as well as playwriting. It has only been in the last few years she’s decided to seriously commit to visual art. By April 2014 she will graduate with a Masters degree in Fine Arts.

Connecting Space is running until Sept. 28 in Gallery 22, above Triple J’s Music Café in Whitehorse. To have a look at more of her work check out her website

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