New Exploration: Asphalt Mosaics

The Grace and the Grit - Asphalt Mosaics

This new series has been in the (conceptual) works for more than a year and I had the opportunity to explore this idea through participation in a group exhibit that is currently hanging at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland

The exhibit showcases the work of 10 artists living and working in the Jingletown Junction of East Oakland and how they/ we interact with, record, respond to living in an urban,
industrial neighborhood. It is a great show.. go see it! (Info below)

The designs for the mosaics I am exhibiting are based on markings in the roads and were
created using asphalt, concrete and other detritus collected from the streets. The whole series is really an exploration of the inward and outward journey, and, ugliness. And the inherent beauty fo
und within. And uncovering this.

I do a lot of work inspired by the urban landscape.. But this actually is LITERALLY the urban landscape. I have been collecting asphalt (I am calling it harvesting) for awhile and from different locations to use in my work, but all of the materials used in the work I am exhibiting in this show came from Jingletown Junction.. all of it. I walked around like a crazy lady with a "wagon" I McGyvered up and collected huge dirty chunks of asphalt, concrete, brick and some other crap that made its way into an installation I did on the floor of the gallery.

Asphalt is a tough medium to work with, you can't use traditional cutting tools so cutting is very labor intensive. An
d I used traditional Italianate setting styles in the works.. so it was time consuming and also rewarding to be simultaneously turned off by the material and also intrigued by it and finally seeing its unique and inherent beauty. A giant metaphor for life.

As I explore the concept of ugliness in many of it's forms, I am actually constantly reminded of the grace that resonates in the ugliest of places (even in asphalt).

The exhibit includes a series of works for the wall and temporary mosaic floor installation inspired by a circular sideshow (car spinout) skid mark.

Here is the blurb my art reviewer friend wrote about my work:

In her new series of mosaic relief panels, artist Laurel True turns away from more traditional mosaic materials such as ceramic, glass and stone, instead creating her works from asphalt, concrete and other roadway detritus collected from her East Oakland neighborhood.

True bases her works' designs on random and intentional road markings such as tar lines, cracks and skid marks made from sideshows and car spinouts. True's series is a visual and conceptual investigation of what beauty might be found in urban landscapes, exploring the ugliness, grit, solidity and underlying grace in both her materials and surroundings.

More About the Exhibit:

"Jingletown Junction" Jingletown is a migratory, semi-industrial zone located on the estuary of Oakland and Alameda. Ten artists, all who live and/or work here, all members of the Jingletown Arts and Business Community (JABC) have created artwork for this show, as it stems from our individual experience of living and working in an artists' neighborhood. Each artist uses his/her own medium and creative ideas to make pieces that concern the collaborative experience of this area. In a time when our neighborhood is undergoing rapid change, growing by leaps and bounds, it is our goal to stimulate awareness of and support for the rich and diverse population of working, exhibiting and performing artists, and other creative members of Jingletown.

The exhibit features the work of:

Alison McLennan, Fernando Reyes, Jill McLennan, Heather Whitehead, Russ Osterweil, Jan Watten, Jon Zax, Kathy Cronin, Bill Silveira and Laurel True.

PRO ARTS GALLERY 550 Second Street Oakland, CA 510-763-4361 Dates: March 18 - April 25, 2008 Artists' Talk: Saturday, April 5, 1 - 3 pm

Above: Crack/ Lancaster 9846
Asphalt, concrete,
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Above: Crack/Peterson at Chapman
Asphalt, concrete,
gold smalti
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008

Laurel True

Above: Skidmark/ E. 7th at Derby Asphalt, concrete, dichroic
and antique glass
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Above: Lancaster 400 Asphalt, concrete, mirror, glass
24” x 18” x 1”, 2008
Laurel True

Asphalt in it's natural habitat
Jingletown Junction, USA

Sideshow skidmark Derby at Chapman Sts.
Jingeltown Junction

Sideshow Installation/ Derby at Chapman
Asphalt, concrete, brick, metal, found objects
4’ x 4’ x 3” 2008

Laurel True

Detail Sideshow Installation