Recent graduate Gracelee Lawrence wasted no time jumping right into the professional art world after walking across the stage last May. She has already had work on display as far away as Texas, with pieces currently in exhibition in Maryland and Virginia. Her first installation is now on display in downtown Durham at Center Studio Architecture. Gracelee has also gotten her feet wet in the performance art area, participating in artist Kate Gilmore’s piece Wall Bearer at the Weatherspoon downtown. In between grad school applications, Gracelee says she has been spending just as much time looking for opportunities as she has making sculptures to exhibit. All the networking at galleries and web surfing for residencies and grants has started to pay off. Gracelee is a recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant this year and was also accepted into a show in Durham that opens next week.
Gracelee’s advice to those of us still in the Guilford art world looking to have work on display in places other than Hege Cox or Founders is to “start local. Find different places where you can hand deliver your work.” Not only does this eliminate the stress and nerves associated with shipping art, it “also gives you the opportunity to meet the people involved with the gallery/exhibition.” (Gracelee also gave quite a few links to where she finds these opportunities, listed below.) Despite being surrounded by peers, and receiving recommendations and criticisms, “in the end”, Gracelee says, “it is your work.” She says you have to “make a body of work you can stand behind.” If you really want to be incorporated into the art world, make a website to put your work on, and perhaps most importantly, “don’t give up if you truly want it!”
From her accomplishments and future plans, you can tell Gracelee really wants it. She has already developed a consistency and style throughout her works that is easily recognized. Since completing thesis Gracelee has continued to produce the large, geometric forms made from steel rod paired with twine or fabric, as well as her smaller artifacts. The artist has also had some experience in casting which can now be seen in her online gallery. Gracelee is currently preparing for her many upcoming exhibitions, including her first solo show in February. Hoping to enter grad school next fall, Gracelee has the intentions of living as a professional artist and sculpture professor. We wish the Guilford grad the best of luck!
For more of Gracelee Lawerence visit:
Resources from Gracelee: