Laura Santori is the winner of the Richard Goldberg Award for 2021. Endowed by the late Dr. Richard Goldberg ’58, his family, friends and colleagues, this award is given to the student exhibiting a sensitive interpretation of an artistic vision in the Annual Student Exhibition.

Artist Statement

“How I have walked… day after day, and all alone, to see if there was not something among the old things which was new!” – Thomas Cole, On American Scenery

This series depicts landscapes visualized from my own experiences and imagination and explores a bizarre appreciation of the natural world. I am interested in exploring the absurdity of the simultaneous beauty and suffering present in nature.

These works serve as my personal escape from this reality to one that is falsely constructed, and I invite the viewer to step into these environments and craft their own narratives. Each painting represents a distinctive setting imbued with fantastical elements, from colossal forests with gnarled trees to endless deserts with dual suns.

My interest in atmospheric lighting and dramatic compositions stems from the Romantic painters of the Hudson River School, resulting in landscapes that illustrate the simultaneous awe and fear of nature. My depiction of the picturesque translates into sceneries that attempt to capture semi-realistic reflections of the external world.

Large scale canvases and prints are important to convey a sense of believability and have the viewer confront my absurd worlds head on. I predominately work with oil paint on canvas, which allows for greater intimacy and meticulous control in my brush marks. I intend for the whimsical compositions and vibrant colors to grab the viewer’s attention and invite them to escape into my intricately constructed creations.

Follow Laura Santori on Instagram @laurasantori.art