28 Jun Stephenson Showcase: Sculptural Forms by Claudia Labin
Carmel-based artist Claudia Labin’s approach to art is spiritual. She has always been attracted to mystery and mysticism, and she tries to shy away from political and social commentary or cultural statements. She has always gravitated towards mixed media, collage, and assemblage, as her art is all about process.
“For me, it is a way to solve a puzzle, to dive into the unknown and the unconscious, always looking for that elusive missing piece,” Labin says. “The idea comes first, then I find the material. The art comes out raw, authentic, and often unexpected.”
Born and raised in Paris, Labin has taken her talents around the world to Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, and Chicago before settling here in Indianapolis. Her career in the arts began with creative writing, for which she holds an MFA. Labin’s articles and short stories have been published in numerous literary magazines, and her plays have been produced in local theaters around the city–but she found her true passion through her exploration of the visual arts.
“I don’t paint plein air or landscape or people; I paint feelings, emotions, and poetry, and I cover them with layers and layers of color,” Labin says. Specializing in mixed media collage and assemblage, her approach is experiential and primarily self-taught. She uses mediums that engage her tactile sense by utilizing multiple layers of collage. “I want to leave mystery in a painting and let the viewer complete the painting by finding his own private meaning through symbolism and personal emotional response,” she says.
Labin has always been fascinated by hidden messages, secret codes, encrypted texts, codebreaking, and cryptanalysis ever since she came upon an encrypted message in her great grandfather’s attic dating from WWI in an old farmhouse in France. A year later, she purchased a book at an outdoor flea market in Connecticut in which she found an encrypted postcard, and her imagination immediately ignited with creative possibilities.
“While working on [a future exhibit titled] ‘Kryptos’, I needed a break from the coding world and started to play with small, discarded pieces of wood. The momentary interlude soon became an obsession and one piece of artwork led to another and another… and later to new Assemblage pieces. In the meantime, time ran out for ‘Kryptos’, even though this next exhibit of secret messages is still very much in the works. In the interval, I hope you enjoy these fun, whimsical pieces, all made out of wood, found objects and mixed Media.”
“All the pieces in this exhibition are my attempt to tickle your imagination and curiosity,” she says. “I hope you enjoy the work as much as I had creating it.”
Labin is represented by Kuaba Gallery in Carmel, and a sampling of her work can be found on Artsper, an international art platform. She also has had solo exhibitions along with her sculptor husband, Irwin Labin, at the Stephenson gallery in Noblesville, the Mayer Najem gallery in Fishers, and Saks Fifth Avenue at Keystone Crossing.
Labin’s work has been featured in numerous local galleries including The Raymond James Stutz Gallery, The Hoosier salon gallery, French Bleu, The IAC, SALI abstract art exhibitions, Garfield Park Arts center, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Arts Council of Indianapolis at the Arts Garden, and, of course, Nickel Plate Arts, among others.
Labin is grateful for her partnership with Nickel Plate Arts, as she believes they were instrumental in building her career as an artist.
“They helped me grow and find my stride,” she says. “Their support, encouragement, and promotion of my art gave me the confidence to move forward. I sold my first piece of art at their gallery and found many patrons for my work there.”
Labin looks forward to her upcoming Sculptural Forms exhibit, which will be featured in the Stephenson gallery during the month of July. You can find the work of Labin and her husband on their website, labinart.com.
The full Sculptural Forms exhibit can be seen in the Stephenson House July 7 through July 29, Wednesday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can meet Labin at her reception during the July First Friday event from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Stephenson House on the Nickel Plate Arts campus.