"[Laura] Rice's pastels and acrylics carry with them a singularity of vision that allows her to forgo the rote and the expected. Her fleshy, disjointed figures seem inspired by a refreshingly singular narrative that is fine-tuned to the absurd.
Using line and texture to tell her stories, Rice deftly wields her brushes and sticks through a landscape of bodies that swell and bend to refrains of the grotesque. Yet it is exactly this fascination with the grotesque that gives rise to a celebration of anything odd and peculiar.
'Carrot Soup,' for instance, features a figure that is disproportionately voluminous from the waist down. In one hand is a bunch of carrots and the atmosphere generated by the sense of growth and renewal suggested by the images gives the piece a cock-eyed and heady kind of hysteria.
An orange ribbon on the hat of the figure, who is done up in bold checked pants, breezily echoes a kind of perverse merriment.
Rice likes to play with the illusion of space, foreshortening and extending elements in her pieces. In 'Waiting for the Buzzards,' a woman lies on a chaise lounge surrounded by a desert landscape. Her mountainous thighs cascade off her bones as she gives a self-satisfied smirk. But Rice has purposely done without a frame for the chaise lounge and the resulting impression is of a series of green slats that hang somewhere imprecisely in space.
The pastel and acrylic work are two different aspects of Rice's work... While the acrylics here are appropriate for the more fantastic of Rice's images, the pastels show off her ability to create ambiance and tone with virtually line alone.
'Gold Hoop Earrings' is a case in point. On taupe-colored paper Rice depicts a turbaned woman. The fingers and toes are long and bony, gnarled in an almost arthritic fashion that is characteristic of many of Rice's figures. But Rice leaves some of the picture out. Fingers are missing, breasts that should be visible are mysteriously hidden. It is an oddly disconcerting style that Rice balances with matching textures: the turban on the woman's head and the cushion on which she sits features the same red and green stripes...as an artist with a gift for the unusual, she has definitely found her way."
– Julia Chiapella, The Sentinel
"In her portraits Laura seeks to find human dignity in everyday people. Her images are expressionistic in their use of rich color, bold brushwork, and a strong sense of graphic design.
In a manner similar to the portraits of Pablo Picasso or Paul Cezanne, Laura exaggerates the human form in order to enhance the character and emotional impact of her subjects. Her images are sometimes humorous and sometimes disturbing, as though they are revealing a glimpse of something slightly embarrassing. At the same time her subjects have a strong sense of presence that defines them as unique human beings, regardless of their flaws and eccentricities."
– Jon Bock, Williams Gallery