Laura Mentele and Steve Schneider
April 7 - May 15, 2021
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Laura Mentele is a figurative oil painter and mixed media artist. At an early age, Mentele loved art. She had her first major recognition as artist when she won the Washington Art Education Association Award in the statewide OSPI art show in her senior year of high school. In 2020, she graduated from Central Washington University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and won numerous academic awards, such as the prestigious C. Farrell Fine Arts and Research Scholarship.
Mentele’s work is primarily composed of female figures and explores themes of pain, vulnerability and strength. By using the female figure in her art, she reflects herself in each of her paintings, creating a deeply personal body of work.
It has been my observation that there is frequently a disconnect between who we believe a person to be and who they are. The content of each of my pieces reflects upon this as well as explores emotional pain, vulnerability and strength primarily using the female form.
My work is influenced by numerous things, but I am particularly interested in the things that people hide. In the past, I have dealt with social anxiety and the pitfalls that came with feeling unseen and misunderstood. As a result, I was often reserved or prickly in countenance in order to protect myself, hiding who I was and how I felt. My paintings are largely influenced by this idea of ‘hiding’ except vulnerability and emotional pain is revealed rather than concealed. The emotional qualities of my paintings are contrasted with contained or neutral poses as if the women are withholding themselves.
I explore the above themes in a variety of ways. Deliberate formal choices such as composition and color palette are heavily considered. I use posture and hints of text to further convey emotional implications. Additionally, I focus on human connection as it pertains to the eyes. Eyes are an important facet of how humans relate to others and are firmly rooted to ideas surrounding expression of emotion and identity. In western culture, eye contact is associated with honesty and confidence—which acts in dichotomy to my ideas of hiding and revelation. As such, I alter the eyes of my figures in many of my pieces through application of paint or exclude them through formal and compositional decisions, thereby changing how the viewer relates to the piece. This methodology is used to meditate on the fact that people are often unseen and/or misinterpreted.
Additionally, I have incorporated the idea of completeness in my work. Often, those undergoing an emotional ordeal tend to see what they lack rather than what they have and as a result feel incomplete. They long for qualities they recognize in others and wish they had. In my experience, this is a very real part of pain that people feel. I approach this concept through the juxtaposition of substance and detail versus the degradation, simplification and/or absence of form in areas of the figure as formal attributes.
Photographer Steve Schneider has turned a fondness for Rock and Roll into a lifetime of concert documentation. His catalogue includes Rock legends from several decades frozen in revealing and dramatic action. Artists include Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Tom Petty, Merle Haggard, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Soundgarden, Bonnie Raitt, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Grateful Dead and many, many more. Most were shot in the Northwest, Steve’s residence since 1979.
Steve’s close association with The Grateful Dead goes back to the mid 70's when the band first allowed him stage access; his photos have been published on their CDs & DVDs and in a recent Jay Blakesburg collection, Eyes of the World, 2017.
Steve’s career has included stints working for UPI, Gannett News Service, Reuters, and Sipa Press as well as long term commitments to corporate assignments and conventions.
His work has appeared in various publications including TIME magazine, which, after Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995, ran Steve’s shot of Garcia at his last Seattle concert. In Seattle, he is represented by Jeffrey Moose. Steve is currently working on a book of his Rock and Roll images.
My passion for live music began back in high school when Rock and Roll was at its beginning.
It was an exciting time, and I started taking my camera with me. Back in the early days, the bands didn’t care about cameras. Later, when they started to try to keep out our cameras, we smuggled them in. It was very easy to get them in, taking the photos was another matter.
Later in my career, I started to get photo passes from a media source. The bands gave the media a chance to shoot for the first 3 songs. That is where I got the idea of “The first 3 songs, Rock and Roll at 125th of a second” for my show.
When you only have about 5-10 mins to get a shot, you really have to concentrate. The big problem with shooting the first 3 songs is that most bands are just getting warmed up when they kick you out. The rush for me is trying to a get the shot within the time constraints; my eyes are always looking for that shot. In the early days, when we were shooting film, you had to pay attention to your exposure number. You didn’t want to run out of film at the wrong moment. Digital solved that problem.
In recent years I have expanded my photographic subjects to include birds and landscapes.
My wife and I are avid hikers.
I do miss live music and I am waiting impatiently for it to come back.
I hope you like my images.