Artist LAUREL HAUSLER and MFA collector KAREN CONWELL SMITH score a 2 page feature in DC Magazine’s “Art and Power” issue

15 Jan

DC Magazine Dec 2012_web Karen_web Laurel_web

Karen Conwell Smith & Laurel Hausler
by Tiffany Jow, December 2012 issue
photos by Greg Powers
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that in certain circumstances, art saves you,” says collector Karen Conwell Smith. While in the midst of a heart-breaking divorce, the Federation of American Hospitals lobbyist attended an opening at Morton Fine Art and was captivated by a painting of an injured WWII-era nurse. “She’s a woman of texture on canvas: a caregiver in her depleted feminine state, gorgeous in her emptiness- I saw her and I wasn’t alone” says Smith. When she confided in the artist, Laurel Hausler, the two discovered a shared understanding of the emotions captured in the aptly titled piece, “First Aid,” which now hangs in Smith’s bedroom. Every piece Smith owns evokes a memory from her past, a theme echoed by Charlottesville-based Hausler’s work. Filled with ghostly characters rendered more sad than scary, her paintings are permeated by everyday emotions in a conscious effort to better understand things broken and unknown. “I try to see the beuty in torment,” says 34-year-old Hausler, a Virginia native who began pursuing art after a stint in New Orleans, where she cultivated a love of folk art. “It was liberating to realize I didn’t have to have a fine-art degree to make beautiful things,” she explains. The layers of paint on her canvases feature lines, scratches, and rips – a symbol of the intense process that goes into each piece. Hausler credits Smith’s patronage with validating her work. “It’s a blessing to feel like your work is appreciated, loved and getting a good home.”
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