The last child of a Catholic working class family, Kathleen Laybourn grew up in Kenosha and attended local area schools. A childhood of constantly drawing, and learning how to draw by tracing the outlines of pictures in coloring books, encouraged an intense desire to make pictures, and to eventually study art.
In 1979, Laybourn moved to California and met classical artist, Ra Aryamitr. Through years of study with him, she received the formal training she desired and began to understand what it meant to be an artist. Laybourn received her MFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of New Mexico where she was awarded the Raymond Jonson Fellowship for artistic and academic excellence. Currently, she is involved in community art education and participates in numerous exhibitions.
More Than An Icon
Culture creates its definition of who is to be considered “iconic” by assigning value that is based on physical attributes, talent, social status, or desirability. As definitive representations of the time in which they lived, iconic persons become larger than life and oftentimes lose their humanness in the process. Their emblematic status prompts us to forget their victories, struggles, and pain.
Various subcultures have a way of manipulating the meaning of these lives to advance a particular point of view. For example, religious traditions will focus on attributes that vastly vary from the media, whose pursuit of “news” may willfully misrepresent an individual in order to influence the public’s perception. And, trends are created by “experts” to guide behavior and influence almost every aspect of our lives.
This body of work is an invitation for the viewer to ponder more than the immediate and fixed conceptions about the four women represented in this exhibition. It is an effort to reconnect with the vulnerable and fragile nature of flesh and blood in light of the brave, tragic, or triumphant lives lived.