Featured Artist of the Month

Featured Artist of the Month honors the artist-members of Berkeley Art Center, highlighting the breadth and variety of media, processes and concepts engaged by our community. Only artists whose memberships are current will be considered.

Become a member | Take our Artist-Member Informational Survey

Featured Artist October 2018

Laura Van Duren

Van Duren’s scavenging adventures started alongside her mother on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they were frequently on the hunt for useable furniture. Van Duren continues to search her Oakland California neighborhood for any item that she can transform. She strips away the intended use of her found materials, recreating abstract forms, intersecting them with vinyl bags and glycerin soap, that when manipulated, results in twisted mysterious liquid forms, alluding to flesh and bones. Her passion for experimenting with everyday materials has been influenced by the viscerous work of Eva Hesse, Doris Salcedo and Arte Povera.

Van Duren’s work has been shown throughout California and the U.S. She is one of the founding members of Mercury 20 Gallery, situated in the Oakland Art Murmur district. She received her BFA in drawing from Carnegie Mellon University and completed her MFA in sculpture at San Francisco State University in 2017. Van Duren teaches sculpture at City College of San Francisco and is a guest lecturer teaching drawing and ceramics at multiple community colleges in the SF bay area.

Please join Laura for her open studio event, which includes 9 artists in the historic Peter Voulkos Studio Building:
November 10–11, 11am–6pm
951 62nd Street, Studio 62e
Oakland, CA 94608

Artist Statement

Laura Van Duren is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores the human tendency to cling to a sense of permanence in the face of entropy and change. Van Duren dismantles discarded furniture, canes, tools or anything that once supported the body.  Stripping away their intended use, she rebuilds them into whimsical flesh and bones that invite the viewer to get close and inspect the curious details. Inherent in these disparate materials of wood, soap, vinyl and thread is a reference to how our patched together perceptions can fool us into holding on to certainty in the face of constant unpredictability.

Visit Laura’s website

Click on images to enlarge






Against Gravity #3 (detail), 2016
Recycled furniture, glycerin soap
21” x 13” x 12”

Bite, 2018
Recycled furniture, glycerin soap, vinyl, thread
21" x 15" x 16"

Sprung a Leak, 2018
Recycled furniture, glycerin soap, vinyl, thread
16" x 12" x 3"

Cast of Characters,  2018  Recycled furniture, glycerin soap, vinyl, thread 48" x 24" x 5"

Cast of Characters, 2018
Recycled furniture, glycerin soap, vinyl, thread
48" x 24" x 5"