In the world of mommy blogs and home décor pinterest boards, how different are today’s women from the flawless housewives of the 1950’s? This is the question addressed by Lori Larusso, one of two In Residence artists who has spent the summer creating a new body of work at the Loudoun House.
“There’s this resurgence of very idealized domestic life,” she says of the sociopolitical aspect to her work. A Women’s Studies minor while at University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Larusso’s work challenges the parallel between the popular homemaking blogs of today and the perfect depictions of American housewives in vintage media.
“We have a curated existence on social media; it’s still edited and you’re not showing the real stuff,” Larusso said. Many of her pieces depict faultless and generic images from domestic life all can relate to. These images include vibrant depictions of sinks full of dirty dishes, traditional house fronts, and clothing hanging from a clothesline.
“Women are now doing the same things as they did in the past but for different reasons. They identify as liberals but they are also growing their own food and knitting and homeschooling their children, all while having their own careers,” Larusso said. “Instead of doing it for victory or helping the war effort like women did during WWII they are doing it for themselves.”
"I wanted to include only the necessary information, by intentionally cutting out the painting around the shape of the relevant images,” Larusso said of what she calls her shape paintings, a theme she’s kept in her work for a while now. She does not want to distract from the focus of these pieces by having a background or limiting it to a square or rectangle plane, so she literally cuts out the positive space of her paintings with a jig saw.
Larusso uses a unique layering procedure to create the crisp lines in her work. This process consists of drawing out layers, taping around them and painting on each color individually after priming with a matte medium. This priming effect prevents paint from bleeding over into other color sections.
Be sure to stop by the Loudoun House on Tuesdays any time between 10am and 4pm to see Lori Larusso and Melissa Vandenberg create art in action.