June 2013: Laurie Vail & LeBrie Rich

LeBrie Rich a collage artist using a variety of special papers. She first began working on these collages just before leaving on a 3-month trip to Japan last spring.  She continued working on these while in Japan where she discovered and collected many paper types both handmade and mass-produced. Since her return to Portland “I've continually created collages, now using the medium to experiment with the Japanese aesthetic I encountered during my travels.” Although the finished collages always seem to suggest certain objects, beings, or situations, she says her process is entirely intuitive. Her work emphasizes experimentation in materials and processes and often employs pattern, print and fiber.

Laurie Vail finds inspiration where others find trash. “I look at a piece of discarded metal and see the figure of an animal. Going to the scrap yard for me is as inspiring as going to a museum,” says Laurie. Since becoming a sculptor, Laurie has become known for her whimsical giraffes, horses, and dogs. Bicycle parts become legs, wires becomes tails, car bearings become eyes, with every piece of metal suggesting a different body part. Although much of her work is wire welded, Laurie also uses cold connections and oxy/acetylene to enhance her pieces with various textures. Many pieces are painted with acrylic enamels, while others maintain their integrity by being left to the vagaries of the outdoor environment. Laurie’s newest obsession, shared with many Portlanders, is chickens. They are a composite of pitchfork tines for beaks, sheet metal or springs for feathers, and bicycle gears and ball bearings for the combs and eyes. To Laurie, the beauty of using found objects is the resulting individuality and uniqueness of each finished piece.