Artist Holly Laws to speak at URI

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KINGSTON, R.I. –February 6, 2007–The Department of Art and Art History at the University of Rhode Island has announced that Providence-based artist Holly Laws is this year’s Italo Scanga Visiting Artist.

Laws will visit the Kingston Campus Feb. 28 and March 1. She will lecture Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center, Room A202. A reception will follow. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Laws’ work runs the gamut from sculpture to theater design. She holds degrees in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She received her second fellowship from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts in 2004.

Laws creates objects using techniques that are labor-intensive and time consuming with meticulous attention to detail. Some of these techniques have traditionally been associated with women’s work, some with a specific trade or craft as opposed to fine art. Painstaking process, the attendant precision and a focus on detail, form the backbone of her work.

Laws’ approach to her work is informed by a love of experimentation with all manner of materials and means of production. Her experience is wide and varied. She spent two years in Oklahoma studying cowboy boot-making techniques and continues to add non-traditional materials and techniques to her repertoire. For many years, the central vehicle of Laws’ work has been the human figure, with a focus on fragments of bodies: legs, teeth, breasts, incomplete torsos, the items of clothing that cover particular parts – all surrogates for a self. For the last several years, Laws has been working on an interactive public art project, the “Dog Tag Project,” which takes art out of the gallery context and places it in the hands of the people.

The Italo Scanga Visiting Artist Fund was established in 2005 with a donation from URI Art Department alumna Katherine Scanga and the Italo Scanga Foundation. Italo Scanga was an internationally renowned sculptor who taught for many years at University of California at San Diego. For further information on the Italo Scanga Foundation visit For more information on this event, contact the URI Department of Art at 401-874-5821.