by Naomi Haley, from The Purdue Exponent, November 4, 1997
Purdue alumna Louie Laskowski has taken her art to a new level of expression and recognition with her fabric paintings.
Several of Laskowski's paintings from her "Dress Series" were chosen to be included in a national show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
"I got the idea of using real dresses with my work 12 years ago," she said. "A colleague and I were repairing a canvas using a plaster primer called gesso. I was impressed with how well the gesso worked and for 10 years I had different ideas running through my head on how to utilize it with my paintings. I finally began experimenting with gesso and ended up with the dress paintings."
Laskowski said she is exploring the reality of feminine ideas, feelings and conditions.
"Femininity is not the same thing as being of female gender, yet society often considers it the same essential to being an attractive female," said Laskowski. "The dress series deals with these ideals."
Laskowski, originally from Dayton, Ohio, became interested in art at age four. She remembers being attracted to other children who could color or draw well and felt envious when she heard other children's parents giving them praise for their colored pictures.
Laskowski also remembers her father bringing home an oil painting when she was six.
"I was enthralled by it," she said. "I couldn't figure out how it was humanly possible for someone to blend colors like that."
Laskowski and her family moved to Marion, Ind., the summer before her senior year.
"I didn't have much opportunity to paint in high school," she said. "And I didn't realize that being an artist was something people did for a career until I attended Purdue."
Laskowski attended her first semester at Purdue in the 1965 and was a double major in physical education and art education. In 1968 she took time off to travel and returned in 1972.
"When I came back to Purdue I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was focused and very determined to achieve my goals," she said. "That was when I truly embraced my art. I always had the need to project and put something beyond myself and I finally had the determination to use that energy in the right direction."
Laskowski received her bachelors and masters degrees in Fine Arts and Art Education. In 1975 she began working as an art teacher at Harrison High School while pursuing her career as an artist.
Since that time, Laskowski has been very successful in obtaining her goals as an artist. These achievements include art exhibitions, awards, media spots, lectures, publications, and single and small group shows.
Laskowski said she feels honored to have her paintings shown in the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
"I feel fortunate to have my work go beyond the state," she said.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts offers "the single most important collection of art by women in the world," according to the 1997 Traveler's Guide to Art Museum Exhibitions. Included in its permanent collection are works by Cassatt, Kahlo, O'Keeffe and Frankenthaler.
Laskowski said she is now ready to move her art to the next level.
"My goal is to find a good gallery that believes in me and in my work," she said. "I want to continue teaching but I am ready for my art to be recognized by more museums and curators."
Laskowski is still employed at Harrison High school. She resides and works in her studio in Brookston, Ind.
Laskowski's work will be shown at the Indianapolis Art Center from Feb. 26 through April 11,1999. It will tour three other sites in Indiana then it will appear at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., March through April, 2000. Additionally, a range of educational programs and special events will accompany the tour.
All artwork and code Copyright 2005 Louie Laskowski
No part of this document may be copied or used without express written permission of the artist.