Mostly Rosemary, Paintings by Laura Alexander

January 29 - March 11, 2012

Hoboken artist Laura Alexander’s Monroe Center studio is a fixture on the annual Artists Studio Tour. In addition to her paintings, her studio walls are covered with colorful and interesting pop culture artifacts, which are fun to look at, but it’s her large portraits that arrest the visitor’s gaze and stay with you after you leave.

A series of four large portraits—with a twist—are the focus of her latest exhibit, “mostly Rosemary, Paintings by Laura Alexander” is on view in the Museum’s Upper Gallery from January 29 through March 11.

The title of the show is inspired by the model who posed for the photographs that Alexander worked from in creating these 50-inch-square portraits. “They’re ‘mostly’ her,” Alexander explains, “but we changed her cosmetically for each portrait. The concept was to portray different ethnic varieties. I attempted to do this with wigs and make-up, while Rosemary is skilled enough as a model to change her facial expressions…the pull of her smile, the squint of her eyes, etc.” The model applied her own make-up and the two spent as little as an hour to capture three different “personas.” While the results look very serious, Alexander said she and Rosemary had a lot of fun doing the photo shoots.

“The point of art making is to say something: hopefully, to create a dialogue with the viewers…within the viewers’ own thoughts,” Alexander says. “These paintings speak about the many differences we perceive in one another while we still recognize our shared humanity. Real tolerance of these differences seems to be the challenge of this century.”

A full-time artist who attended the Maine College of Art, the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vt., and the New York Art Students’ League, Alexander lives in Hoboken and has had a studio at 720 Monroe since 1991, when it was still known as the Levelor Factory. She works at her art while she’s home-schooling her 11-year-old son (also an artist), and teaches art to young students on Saturdays. Art is a family affair, as her husband has a studio there as well.

This is Alexander’s second Hoboken Museum exhibit. Her work is exhibited frequently in New York and New Jersey, and occasionally internationally. She earned a fellowship in 2006 from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was awarded a solo exhibit in the 1998 Viridian National juried competition in New York, as well as an award from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio program in New York (1996).

The exhibit is supported by a block grant from the State/County Partnership program for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.