The Gallery Presents:
This month we welcome Laura Ross-Paul. In 2003 a life threatening illness greatly impacted Laura’s life path. Approaching a diagnosis of multiple focus breast cancer with the goal of saving her breast, (what a life-long figure painter/teacher would want) , Laura volunteered to be the first US woman to be treated with Cryoablation, or freezing. The successful outcome of this treatment has led Laura, and her husband Alex, to become Cryoablation for Breast Cancer Advocates. Along with Alex and her doctor Peter Littrup, she has helped author the book “They’re Mine and Keeping Them”. (https://www.amazon.com/Theyre-Mine-Im-Keeping-Them/dp/1497357497/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492457288&sr=8-1&keywords=theyre+mine+and+im+keeping+them).
Since 2005 she and Alex have maintained the website, Keeping Them.com as well as the Keeping Them Facebook site where they regularly share informational posts and connect women seeking this innovative procedure with doctors who preform it. In line with this work she has visited, and been treated in, China 4 times, twice as a guest of the Chinese to speak at the Fuda Hospital International Forum on Cancer and Cryoablation. In 2016 an article about Laura’s suggestion calling for an “Early Freeze Protocol” was the number one most read article on the popular site Breast Cancer Weekly News Digest. (https://breastcancer-news.com/2016/03/29/breast-cancer-story/).
This health journey has affected Laura’s painting imagery. In 2006 she developed an entire exhibit and catalog, “Naked”, featuring imagery motivated by the challenges and vulnerability of being a “Patient Pioneer”. The following year curator Jessica Hunter Larsen featured her work in a woman exhibit, “The Allusive Self”, at the Coburn Gallery at Colorado College, along with a catalog and artist residency. In 2016 Laura developed her first installation, “Drawing As Core”, linking painted, color coded panel constellations along the 45’ wall of Portland Community College’s North View Gallery, as part of the Visual Code exhibit curated by Mark Smith.
The popularity of this activity has created a dilemma between the Google results for entering the name “Laura Ross-Paul” where the Artist as well as Writer/Activist versions of Laura’s name give different results. Please be assured this is the same person. Artists have always been known to be early innovators and it has been the career long spirit of experimenting with new ways to utilize painting materials that gave Laura the confidence to trust Dr. Littrup to use her as a guinea pig to try out his freezing technique on this type of cancer.
Our featured 3-d artist is Sara Swink. She describes her work as follows: I make clay human and animal figures with a psychological stance. My hand-built sculptural works impart ideas through stories, often with a humorous edge. I’ve always loved animals and enjoy expressing human foibles through the animal persona. I like to form fast in a gritty sculpture clay, incise into the clay, bisque fire, finish with oxides, underglazes and glazes, then fire to cone 5.
My ideas derive most often from a process methodology that I teach in workshops, which employs simple and accessible techniques like collage and doodling to unleash the unconscious. Then I try to stay out of the way, letting ideas flow, selecting the ones that most resonate to bring into clay. I also get ideas from what I’m reading, a phrase or concept that triggers an idea for a piece. I sketch a lot, and one piece often leads to more ideas. There is a thread of personal narrative that runs through all my ceramic work. Reflection and writing help me to recognize and make some sense of the progression. It’s the process of inner exploration that keeps me moving forward.