In her new collection of work, Laura intersects feminism with modern realities, diving into what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Her work spoke to me in that it illustrates the tricky balance of navigating one’s private self in a world dominated by social projections — and the vulnerability and self-reflection that comes with it. Pieces like “Gillian Playin Lady in the Streets” and my personal fav “Kruger Balm Dotcom” speak to this notion in particular. Laura’s work is lighthearted, whimsical, and almost cheeky at times, but still manages to invoke meaning through depth, layer and dimension. The message may seem clear at first, but upon further look it becomes less overt and more thought-provoking through hidden words and powerful substance. Well done, Laura!
Laura Deems // TRUE GRIT

Something is afoot with the artistic expression of Charleston-based artist Laura Deems’ recent body of work, markedly akin to a tongue in cheek metamorphosis, generously peppered with a clever irreverence for the establishment, the status quo. Not only has Deems clearly harnessed a very distinct and original voice, many of her works now actually include words, so we actually see her thinking out loud, making bold and subtle references, leaving the viewer with an invitation to reflect on possible meanings as well as with a tip of the hat for having reflected at all. There is also a notable maturity in Deems’ work—her creations are no longer just easy on the eye, what with their desirable color palettes in fresh abstract patterns. What has been refreshingly revealed in her recent body of work is Deems’ grit in the oyster—that the artist has true grit, welcomes the rub, shrugs off being for everyone. And that’s where her new work gets really exciting—and one can confidently expect that Deems is just getting the conversation started. Stay tuned….
LD’s new body of work is a brief dialogue about words, words’ authority over a piece of work, and the influence of the words of an artist’s (in her crown) have. It’s a dialogue that Laura begs her viewer to continue with the repeated “LOOK” found in many of her new compositions. Her catty texts, which accompany every piece, are accented with arrows, asterisks, stars, and hashtags; the symbols in the texts enable to the viewer to more easily visually transition back to the work of art it supports. In an effort to understand logically how the texts and compositions form one entity, I found it helpful to consider them both separately. Every viewer likes to think they can have their own interpretation of a work, but LD takes away that privilege with her own explanation. Ironically, the interpretation of art, or the study of Art History (which Word Play is drenched in), is making informed guesses of the artist’s intention. The text mean we don’t get to tell Laura what she is painting anymore. Crap. I wanted to be the important one that said what it “means”. But that’s the point! LD makes you want to defend yourself, and LOOK, and (hopefully) THINK for yourself. Question the artist’s crown…
While you do that, acknowledge LD’s maturity in style and the intellectual weight that lies behind every piece.
Deems is all over the place, and I like it.
Too much in life, people try to make it all fit into a box. They want to name it. Tape it up. Then move on. But can’t it just BE. Be what it is in it’s rawest elements? And not be called any genre or movement? I like how she see the world. Her mood boards especially made me smile.
I love the representation of ‘I shop therefore I am’ ...I can relate to that. Consumerism is a bitch. We need to get people away from ‘more is more’ mentality. It wont make you happier! Our generation wants experiences, not things! Thank goodness.
’Youngman Baldessari’ - my fav of the lot! We all have one chance in life. One life!
Do things that matter. And really, All you need is LOVE. Yes, its that simple.
What a joy it is to watch Laura develop as an artist before our very eyes. I can see the influence of artists like Rauschenberg, Basquiat and Dufy but Laura is developing her own “voice” on canvas. I admire the way she paints what she feels- simply because it is “in” her; she seems unconcerned with a piece’s marketability. That’s why it is so exciting that she uses such bold strokes and confident markings. There is a freedom and movement in her pieces that say “status quo be damned!” I like the way she shares her thoughts and inspirations for each piece. It gives the viewer insight to her soul and causes one to join her in questioning the thoughts that are stirring within her. Art has the power to evoke emotion and spark conversation with it’s vulnerability. I think Laura has bravely displayed parts of her heart so that we might pause, question, discuss - grow; that is the raw beauty I see in these pieces. Also, I just like her color palette. It’s a point of pride to watch her grow and soar. I think she just keeps getting better and better. Favorite piece- “Otto Fish Dix”. I like the palette, I like the gestures and the movement. I like the thoughtful disorder of the composition. I like the way Laura references how Dix painted to find order, that Kanye makes music to do the same. We all “do our thing” in an attempt to make sense out of a lot of senseless things in the world. It is cool that something Laura created speaks to that.
Laura has really found a lovely style that feels very personal to her which I find is one of the most difficult things to accomplish as an artist! I love her use of script and letters! Knowing her personally and her love for written notes, letting people know that she cares, it’s really neat for me to see her writing come through to her artwork. I have loved seeing her discover her artistic voice at such a young age!
Laura Deems’ new collection, Word Play, goes beyond any abstract expressionist work that I have seen in some time. Laura brings so much intellect to the game. In a single collection she has pulled inspiration from Keith Arnatt, Ed Ruscha, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing, Manet, John Singer Sargent and more. It’s unbelievable. She forms connections between the works of these artists coming from various time periods, different countries and range of styles, and it’s her work that illuminates this. Not only does her work reference artists’ influences, but also influences from the right now, pop culture and politics. Like John Baldessari, in this collection Laura makes us slow down to look at the art in new ways. Its all about contrasts, opposing forces, yet all lines are blurred. Bravo, Laura!
Laura’s latest collection is her best work yet! I especially love the spring colors present in her new pieces, and this fresh palette is so perfectly complemented by the bolder black and navy strokes in each painting. The doodles and scribbles found throughout are free and expressive, particularly in my favorite piece, Otto Fishdix. I’m thrilled to share Laura’s newest paintings with my clients! There is no doubt that Laura has really hit her stride with this new body of work.
In the way that perhaps only someone born in the hey-day of appropriation rich social media could do, Laura Deems presents a body of work that feels like a youthful mash-up of artistic references. Rather than turning to just one artist for inspiration, Laura’s work visually tips its hat to several of the greats (basquiat, twombly, rothko) in a manner that feels cohesive and wholly her own.
To know Laura Deems is to love her art even before seeing, but this latest collection is all heart emoji!! This collection is such a raw portrayal of her inspirations and personality and I’m totally smitten. The use color and lines is so free and purposeful at the same time. I literally want everything!