The Artist

Laurence Chandler

Laurence Chandler, an American Painter and Contemporary Abstract Expressionist

As with most naturally gifted artists, Laurence Chandler’s interest in art was evident at an early age. His parents and teachers recognized his creative talent and encouraged him to study art. Formally trained thanks to a full scholarship, he earned a BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (1968), Baltimore, MD., and a master's degree in education from Coppin State University  (1976), Baltimore, MD.

Early in his career, Chandler worked as a graphic designer at several U.S. Federal agencies and in corporate advertising. Through his own business, he developed a good reputation as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for clients such as Howard University, the district of Columbia government and IBM. 

Today, Chandler works full-time as a painter in his Lanham-Maryland studio. And, he is more passionate than ever about art.

As an Abstract Expressionist, Chandler creates mixed-media paintings using fabric, wire, acrylic, paper and found objects on paper and canvas. His paintings are well-crafted works, characterized not only by careful attention to color, form, line and composition, but also highly improvisational and spontaneous techniques. His paintings, like free-form jazz and poetry, suggest human emotions, a narrative, experience or drama, and invite viewers to become interwoven in his art.

His work, both figurative and abstract, is spiritual, colorful, uplifting and provocative, giving it universal appeal. His themes focus on family, political change, cultural experiences and tradition.

Chandler has produced a wide-ranging body of work that is in public and private U.S. collections. His work has been acknowledged in select juried venues and exhibitions in the Washington-DC metro area, Tennessee and California. And, he has self-published numerous works.

When looking to the influence of other artists, Chandler has enormous respect for Abstract, Expressionist, collage and color-field painters. Chief among them are Varnette Honeywood, Sam Gilliam, Jackson Pollock, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Picasso and Peter Paul Rubens.

Artist Statement:

"To me, art is an adventure into an unknown world of the imagination. And, my goal is to capture the essence of things unseen, and to draw viewers into my magic circle of creation, allowing them to experience something of the thrill of 'making,' which once had been my privilege as an artist. The experience is both visceral and cerebral...explosively energetic and pensive.

Like the early vanguard of Abstract Expressionists -- among them, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko -- I value spontaneity and improvisation, and accord the highest importance to process. The hallmark of my style is an emphasis on my own improvisational techniques, and expressionistic use of color, line, form, texture and space to represent things that are not visual such as an emotion, sound, place, event or spiritual experience.

I am always exploring new avenues of expression and work with a variety of media -- fabric, wire, acrylics, paper or found objects -- which further enhances my expressionism. I use both conventional painters' tools -- bristle brushes -- and unconventional implements -- spray bottles, hair combs and kitchen utensils. And, I have come to discover that my work relates to the rhythms and syncopations of free-form jazz and poetry, to visual ideas found in quotidian objects, and to various rhythms found in nature and the cosmos." -- Laurence Chandler