My artwork is a reflection of experiences as a woman in a metropolitan area, connecting memories and emotions full circle. Primarily working in two dimensional media, my favorite materials include oil paints, inks, and soft pastel. These materials have a natural flow in their consistency and depth to their pigments. I will often combine inks, pencils, and papers to achieve an illustrative quality to my sketches inspired from architectural rendering. I focus on rhythm and pattern throughout my work, taking inspiration Gustav Klimt’s shapes and forms in his backgrounds.
Through portraiture, I seek to portray the internal emotions, thoughts, and aura of a woman through a feminist lens. This can be seen in my oil painting, Woman in Oil, and my pastel drawing, A Portrait of a Woman. As Frida Kahlo said, “I am the subject I know best.” When I draw myself, I am meditating on who I currently am. Through the study of my own facial structure, I am seeking to push my skill further. In the future, I will explore portraying other women who are closest to me; I know their experiences have influenced mine and together our stories speak to other women.
To fully narrate my story, inspired by the 1950’s movement of Psychogeography, I drift through Milwaukee and sort through my journey. I photograph, sketch, write about my walks before later creating representational work in the studio. The final product is not necessarily realistic, but more surreal, as best seen in One Way. Drifting connects my memories, allows me to confront past journeys, some uncomfortable and some nostalgic. I suppose in a way these works too are a portrait of the city. The combination of my feminist portraiture and city portraiture create a narration that is uniquely mine.
About the Artist
Lauren Marie Nitka is a local Milwaukee Artist finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and Elementary Education at Wisconsin Lutheran College, with supplemental art course work from Mount Mary University and University of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Highlighted course work that has been a primary inspiration for current works includes Urban Sketchbook: Psychogeography, Advanced Portraiture Drawing, Interior Architectural Rendering, Western Art History ancient to modern, and Asian Art and Architecture History with an emphasis on Chinese art. Her art style consists of a collage of inspiration, from the drifting method of Psychogeography for inspiration from her city, to the portraiture tradition of Frida Kahlo and Art Nouveau artists. As a future educator herself, Lauren believes art is not an isolated discipline but a collective conscience that is built on culture and therefore values an intense study of Art History along with Studio Art in her future classroom.
Collage of inspiration, imagery, and material have been Lauren’s method of creation throughout undergraduate school. Currently she combines various types of papers and inks together for her sketchbook creations inspired from the City of Milwaukee. Her portraiture tends to be created in soft pastel or oil paint, utilizing looser brushstrokes that create energy around the subject matter.