The Artwork of Geoffrey Laurence
Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1949, Geoffrey Laurence is an American painter, illustrator, educator and designer of both graphic and interior work. Although considered an artist of the realism school, he is more concerned with the emotional responses that can be achieved through various painting techniques. Laurence finds figurative painting to be artificial by its very nature and, thus, an abstraction of the observed life-experience. For him, the goal of all painting is to engage the viewer in an emotional narrative.
Geoffrey Laurence’s parents were naturalized Americans, refugees from Europe and Holocaust survivors. At four years of age, Laurence moved with his family to England where he received his education. In 1965, he entered London’s Byam Shaw School of Art where he studied under geometric painter Bridget Riley. After receiving his London Certificate in Art and Design in 1968, Laurence studied graphic design for a year under poster artist Tom Eckersley at the London College of Printing. In 1969, he studied under Frederick Gore, the Head of the Painting Department, at Saint Martins School of Art where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1972.
Laurence moved to New York City in 1992 and attended the New York Academy of Art where he studied with painter and draftsman Eric Fischl and realist painter Vincent Desiderio. Laurence received his Master of Fine Arts Cum Laude in 1995. He worked freelance for the next tweety years in different art-related fields. Laurence was an illustrator for several magazines, including “Woman’s World” and “Look Now”, as well as a graphic designer for such companies as Pineapple and British Petroleum.
In the fashion industry, Geoffrey Laurence created a range of t-shirts for Walt Disney, the British online clothing retailer Burton and the UK-based global retailer French Connection. He also created work for fashion designer Katherine Hamnett and such companies as PampleMouse and Muscle Sport. During the 1990s, Laurence did interior design work for restaurants including London’s Zen restaurant chain. His design work has appeared in Vogue Magazine, the Royal Institute of British Architects magazine and the London Evening Standard. In addition to applying his skills to freelance work, Laurence continued his focus on figurative drawing and painting, work which regularly appeared in exhibitions.
Exposed to art since early childhood, Laurence has always been fascinated with the history of its development from early cave paintings to European masterworks. He sees art, which is older than verbal language, to be a major part of being human, that distinction which establishes human identity and elevates man from mere mechanical life. Laurence’s work has evolved over the course of his career and developed into two general themes. The first is maintaining a balanced link between pre-1900 classical painting and work of a more contemporary nature. The second is the continuation of a meaningful visual response to the Holocaust, a personal dedication resulting from his being the offspring of concentration camp survivors.
Geoffrey Laurence has been painting and exhibiting his work both in the United States and Europe for over forty-five years. In addition to group and solo gallery exhibitions, his work has been exhibited at the Brighton Museum in the United Kingdom; Taos, New Mexico’s Van Vechten-Lineberry Museum; Sacramento’s Center for Contemporary Art; the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art in Wisconsin; and Chicago’s Zhou B Art Center, among others. Laurence was recently a finalist at the 2023 ARC Art Renewal Centre Salon in New York City.
Among Laurence’s many honors have been the 1995 Walter Erlebacher Award, the 2004 Robert Rauschenberg Award, the 2006 George Sugarman Foundation Grant, the 2017 Palm Art Award, the 2018 PoetsArtists/Bauhaus Award, and the 2023 Robert Rauschenberg Grant. Laurence has taught at the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, the Santa Fe School of Art at SFCC, Seattle’s Gage Academy of Fine Art, and Santa Fe’s Bettina Steinke Studio. He is currently represented in the United States by Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Romeo, Michigan.
Geoffrey Laurence’s website, which includes technical resources for artists, classes, and contact information, can be located at: http://www.geoffreylaurence.com
Second Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “Animal Nature”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 50.8 cm, Private Collection
Third Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “The Brother”, 2006, Oil on Canvas, 96.5 x 71.1 cm, Private Collection
Bottom Insert Image: Geoffrey Laurence, “Hold Fast”, 2004, Oil on Canvas, 198.1 x 182.9 cm, Private Collection