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Lanham artist's new abstracts at WSSC

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Photo by Wanda Jackson. "Ancestral Voyage II" is a 20-by-16-inch mixed-media with bamboo on canvas work by abstract expressionist Laurence Chandler, of Lanham.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. "Ancestral Voyage II" is a 20-by-16-inch mixed-media with bamboo on canvas work by abstract expressionist Laurence Chandler, of Lanham.

Published on: Wednesday, August 08, 2012

By Wanda Jackson

Abstract painter and Lanham resident Laurence Chandler has lately found inspiration from nature. In his view, there is “an interconnection between everything in the universe.”

“At the most basic level, we are made of the same stuff as the stars, the trees, the air, and the ocean,” Chandler said. “Having come from the same source, we are all connected in the most intricate ways, both visible and invisible.”

Chandler’s newest works are on display through Aug. 31 in the Art Gallery at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission at 14501 Sweitzer Lane in Laurel.

WSSC also will host a reception to meet the artist on Thursday, Aug. 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the public is welcome to attend.

The exhibit features 19 mixed-media collage and three-dimensional works on paper and canvas, ranging from $150 to $850. In a majority of the works, Chandler layered various materials such as bamboo, raffia, fabric, acrylic and found objects to synthesize a unified whole from the parts.

While the mix of elements leaves a profound impression, the vast array of color and patterns Chandler has chosen stir the soul.

There are eight- to 12-inch pieces of bamboo with surfaces painted, tied, drilled or pasted. They stand, dance, jump and align themselves in harmony with the elements around them. Animal print fabrics lend unique patterns reflecting “primal life.” Elements in Chandler’s works seem to become something else, creating a sense of calm and peace in an enchanted forest.

“Paths I” and “Paths II” is a startling hodge-podge of colors, a “visual statement” if ever there was one. The layers of light and dark in zebra-like animal print and bold blue and yellow acrylics set up a course for viewers to travel.

Three-dimensional bamboo patterns hint at a sequence of commands and link between points needed to reach a particular place.

“Look for inspiration,” said Chandler, “but, most importantly, look for a serious love of art and nature that comes through in these works. As an artist, what could be greater than motivating someone to look deeper into the realms of nature and get inspired from it? I always want to challenge boundaries and urge viewers to discover their untapped potential.”

Chandler’s works are in numerous private collections across the United States. In addition to his Lanham studio, his works have been exhibited at Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area galleries including Touchstone, Gallery West, Foundry, Strathmore and Montpelier.

His works were featured at Reagan National Airport in “MICA Takes Flight,” an exhibit sponsored by the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. National magazine American Art Collector featured his work in its “Art Lover’s Guide to Collecting Fine Art in Washington, DC., and Mid-Atlantic States” edition.

Chandler earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from MICA and a master’s degree in education from Coppin State College in Baltimore.

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