It’s not hard to see that at the core of Lara Scolari’s art practice is the visualisation of energy. Her paintings are instantly recognisable for their radiant colours and smooth, swirling gestures, transcribing movement and energy through paint. Lara’s work abstracts the vibrant emotion of the Australian landscape she calls home, looking beyond the literal to what is pulsing within.
“I’m very interested in latent energy,” says Lara. “What lies beneath and how underneath the earth, the skin, the water, there’s an abundance of energy, movement and life force just waiting to erupt.”
For the artist, the physical act of painting transcribes her patience and passion and imbues her work with a rippling energy. Lara paints with ink, applying up to 40 layers to the canvas, giving her paintings a sense of visual depth and space. She then further layers her work with other media, including pastel, rope, gold and silver leaf, and a UV gloss finish. While Lara describes her studio as creative chaos, her final products have the effect of stained glass, reflecting and shedding light on the boundless energy behind the scenes.
Art runs in Lara’s blood, having grown up surrounded by the colours and pigments her father made for paint manufacturer Derivan Matisse. Her parents encouraged her to be creative from a young age; the artist remembers fondly the first time she was allowed to paint a mural on her wall at the age of 10. She received extensive academic training, having achieved a Masters of Cross-disciplinary Art and Design from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. However, she is adamant that her art style is all her own. “My practice is informed by me,” she says. As such, she has striven to move beyond her roots to create a method that is recognisably her own.
Lara’s current projects involve large-scale commissions for corporate interior designers, as well as setting up her own pop up gallery in Balmain, Sydney which will be open to the public until December 2020.
“With the cancellation of eight international, interstate and local shows in 2020 due to COVID-19, the creation of my new gallery has happened – sort of like a silver lining,” she tells. The energy that filters through Lara’s work is a timely reminder to focus on joy, and what lies beneath.