New Bedford mixed media artist Laura Bedard explores her love of science through muted celestial and biological landscapes.
Soft layers of ochre, gray, and muted pastels float across Laura Bedard’s mixed media paintings. For any science lover, her work is reminiscent of illuminated cells under a microscope, or a glance through a telescope into deep space. Her work, she notes, are “micro-universes: tributes to the celestial, as well as biological.”
“I am fascinated by the inner-workings of the body and the micro-universes that inhabit it,” she says. “As a child I loved looking at outer space. It was an obsession for me. Have you ever seen the wing of a housefly magnified before? It is so beautiful. It’s amazing to me that life breaks down into little universes all around us.”
Bedard’s obsession with science and astronomy began as a child, growing up near the ocean in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An avid fan of National Geographic, she began to illustrate her various areas of interest—the cosmos, deep sea creatures, and dinosaurs that have long been extinct. Equipped with a telescope and a microscope, Bedard investigated the various mysteries of the universe while also intensifying her interest in becoming an artist. Although her artistic interests waned away from the sciences through her undergraduate education, her interest in living organisms and microscopic landscapes reemerged while she pursued her MFA at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Unlike the vivid landscapes of space and microorganism photography, Bedard’s work is delicate and dreamlike. By layering acrylics and inks from a combination of painting and then printmaking, she is able to wipe away layers, creating depth and soft shapes while forming her own micro-universes of layered material and texture. Starting from yellow ochres, Bedard says she utilizes warmer bases so that her paintings “look like they have a pulse. I want the micro universes to reflect an aliveness to them.”
Her newest series Eclipse bursts with intense golden hues and small details clusters of ambiguous micro-organisms. The paintings, she says, are “reminiscent of the atmosphere within our bodies and the beauty within each of us.”
Now living in New Bedford, Massachusetts with her husband and two children, her family continues the tradition of investment in scientific inquiry. “My daughter loves science experiments,” she says. “She is always asking me if we can blow things up.” Bedard spends her time balancing time in her studio and exploring with her children.