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Lauren Rutten

Explorer. Artist. Photographer. Educator. Writer. Swashbuckling World Traveler.

Lauren, a professional photographer since 1986 has an extensive portfolio career working in documentary, event and portrait photography. She received her Masters from NYU & International Center of Photography. Her vast teaching experience ranges from early childhood through collegiate level instruction including working as the lead artist with Arts Horizons - Creative Alternatives for Youth at Risk and NJ State Council on the Arts- Artists in Education Grants. In 1999, Lauren was awarded a fellowship grant from NJSCA in photography. She was named a NJ Distinguished Teaching Artist for 2009 and 2012. Her writing has been included in Red Silk Anthology. Lauren’s art and writing reflects her deep appreciation of everyday life and seeks to connect, empower and inspire others through her art. Her love of travel hastaken Lauren around the world in 2013 and 40,000 miles across the America in 2015-16.  Lauren and her husband, Andy Carlson now reside in a Civil War historic home in Marshall, NC.

Artist Statement

My work is an investigation of the origins and destinations of body and soul, as attempt to deconstruct identity and place. Like our skin that we imagine defines the edges of our bodies, a home is not limited to what is behind closed doors and sealed up inside of air-conditioned spaces. Walking around my childhood suburban neighborhood wondering about the lives unfolding within manicured houses, I mostly had a sense of being slightly disconnected from everything.

At the heart of all my art is an invitation to find the elusive intersection between the temporary fragility of life and the ecstatic, infinite, immutability of the soul. By focusing my awareness through the twin lenses of art and spiritual practice, I seek to represent the oneness of all life, the sense of being at home within oneself as well as the world. This ongoing exploration of the relationship between internal and external is accomplished through various mediums including photography, mixed media collage, and writing.

My current photographic body of work, A Sense Of Place, is an ongoing project to create images that represent life on the land around Madison County, NC. I’m interested in the places where the inside meets the outside, the effort it takes to create a flower farm, the steep thorny trails that lead to the top of a hill, and how people craft their lives on this wild yet beautiful land. The arduous labor required to care for these remote places and the beauty that surrounds us in these Blue Ridge Mountains are in direct correlation to each other, and my art celebrates both. Through my art I express a deeper connection to this place where my insides and my outsides harmonize with each other, my home.