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FEATURED ARTIST: Gracelee Lawrence

2011 November 16

Click to Subscribe to by Email!OH, HONEY,
she held the sugar

The judging of this $2 Art Contest is really not getting anyeasier. I review lots of art both as a part of judging this contest and as a part of my passion for art.  But nothing makes writing rejection letters okay.  I get them myself, and let’s be honest… they suck, no matter how well-intentioned.  My letter-writing mission is simple.  I want to highlight what makes work good and offer suggestions or explanations for why it doesn’t work for this particular contest this particular month.

This month’s artist is a perfect example of how a rejection letter CAN work.  She submitted work.  I didn’t choose her.  It had nothing to do with her work and everything to do with the accessibility and presentation of the work.

Now normally, when I write a rejection letter, I get one of a handful of responses: a simple thank you, excuses, or objections.  But, every once in a while, I get a response that makes it all worth it: “Thank you.  I fixed the issues.  Please take another look.”

Learn more about Gracelee Lawrence!I took another look.
And the view is spectacular.


I am so proud to announce the Featured Artist chosen from the November entries is Gracelee Lawrence. Her artwork speaks to what it means to be feminine without indulging stereotypes.

Sweet as honey, not sugar,
if you will.


These sculptures are a beautiful aesthetic combined with the marvel of hand-crafted workmanship that both speak to how powerful the feminine dynamic can be.  It isn’t as if I had forgotten that I AM WOMAN, but is wonderful to see someone scream it.

Endometrium by Sculptor Gracelee LawrenceFEATURED ARTIST:
Gracelee Lawrence

Gracelee graduated from Guilford College with a degree in Sculpture, minors in Spanish and Art History and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in the future. She comes from a family of artists- her mother, father, and grandmothers introducing her to many different kinds of art from an early age. Gracelee is a sculptress and horsewoman.

What do you consider your media?  Do you primarily consider yourself a sculptor or an installation artist? Something else?  “I am a sculptor all the way, tried and true. In a few weeks I’ll be doing my first large installation, who knows where that will lead. My sculptures and installations are completely linked and related, in my mind it is all about using and changing how we perceive space.  As Pablo Gargallo once said, ‘Sculpture is air…’ ” 

Clearly, there is an aesthetic voice to your work.  How does color choice play a role in expressing your point of view?  “I think of color as an object.  This is a thought that I first heard when Orly Genger described her work.  How great is that?  Color both incites emotion and creates a particular aesthetic.  I am usually drawn to warm colors… hard to verbalize exactly why that is.”

Lustrum by Sculptor Gracelee LawrenceDo you do your own builds–mechanics,  welding and  powder coating?  “Hard and soft is my deal, I’m all about that contrast.  I’ve been sewing since I was 4 years old (taught by my mother and grandmother) and have done several sculptural dresses.  When I got my hands on steel and learned how to weld it was time for me to combine these two passions.  I do all of my own steel work and painting.  I prep the steel, mix my own custom colors, and everything else except the coating itself.  I don’t do the powder coating but if I had the facilities I certainly would.  I create creatures (big steel forms) by using a series of templates that I have created. These templates range from 1 foot to 5 feet and are triangles, pentagons, and squares. Perhaps there are some hexagons emerging in the near future…”

The use of natural materials like eggs and crab claws and  horse hair alongside industrial, powder-coated steel really captured my heart.  Is this a less  literal hard and soft…ie, natural and manufactured? “Definitely, natural and manufactured is one of the other contrasts that I enjoy.  Even the synthetic orange baling twine takes on a more organic feel when paired with the steel.

Fledge by Sculptor Gracelee LawrenceYou know we have to talk about food.  What are your favorites? “Scones are most certainly my favorite baked good… if I could I’d make a batch every day.  I love when the whole house smells like tasty baking scones.  Toast with honey is a clear snack-food winner. Especially if accompanied with a large mug of earl grey tea.”  Just as a side-note, Gracelee, these foods are far more Zen than I would have expected from an in-your-face sculptor.

So, what’s coming up next for you?  “I’m exhibiting up and down the east coast, my first solo show is in February of 2012!  Very exciting.  Going for my MFA starting next fall.  And of course, continuing to ride my lovely horse.”

Thank you, Gracelee Lawrence for making me want to sing “I Am Woman” at the top of my lungs.  I’m not certain that you will take conjuring Helen Reddy as a compliment, so trust me…it IS meant that way.  I am reminded of my own power by the power in your work. You’re are an inspiration!

Learn more about Gracelee Lawrence online!

Learn more about Featured Artist Gracelee Lawrence!

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12 Responses
  1. Laura Young permalink
    November 16, 2011

    I love Ms Lawrence’s work and what she has to say about it. I look forward to seeing more.

  2. Maggie McRae permalink
    November 16, 2011

    This is amazing! I’m so proud of all the work you’ve done Gracelee! Your work is uniquely you and it’s wonderful. I admire your focus. Keep up the super spectacular work my friend!

  3. November 16, 2011

    This stuff is dope. Mad props keep up the good work!

  4. Matt Hayes permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Way to go Gracelee! this is some beautiful artwork, keep it coming.

  5. Madeleine Arsenault permalink
    November 16, 2011

    This is an awesome article! I am so proud of you Gracelee! You are the epitome of a strong, independent, yet feminine woman. Everyone better keep an eye out for your work! <3

  6. D. Krongs permalink
    November 16, 2011

    mesmerized, as always. onward

  7. Krista J. permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Amazing pieces! Invokes a great combo of excitment and calm….LOVE the dress in the portrait w/the horse. An original Gracelee I assume?

  8. Natalie D permalink
    November 21, 2011

    These are beautiful! Congratulations, Gracelee, you certainly deserved it!

  9. Matthew Fisher permalink
    December 30, 2011

    Nice work!

  10. Erin White permalink
    December 30, 2011

    Congratulations! Your work is beautiful and insightful and I so thoroughly enjoy it!

  11. Colleen McCarthy permalink
    December 30, 2011

    Gorgeous artwork, Gracelee!

  12. January 1, 2012

    get it Gracelee! These are awesome

Comments are closed.