Laura Spalding Best

Region: West


City / State: Phoenix, AZ

I have been studying and painting the urban landscape of the southwest for many years now. Working with oil paint on metal and found objects, I have long viewed my groups of paintings as installations. In my work, I seek to analyze and quantify the complex infrastructure that makes our desert cities livable, while also appreciating the unexpected beauty that can be found in power lines and transformers. Through the visual metaphors of the oasis and the mirage, my paintings often reflect each other, distort, and even appear to melt from their surface. I start with the mirage as a melting point and blur the line between something that is a tantalizing promise on the horizon and something that we may always pursue but never actually reach. These depictions of the contemporary urban desert, featuring banal locations like highways, parking lots, and man-made waterfalls, explore the legacies of romanticism in the American West and tell stories of unfulfilled promises of paradise and the future effects of climate change.