AIR at 40: 1996 Artist in Residence: Laura Von Rosk

By Jenny Zeller

From New York state, painter Laura Von Rosk creates small-scale paintings constructed by mixing elements of landscape and natural forms with memory and imagination. Forms are repeated, emphasized, and manipulated to create tension between the “imagined” and the real world.

Clouds over Big Meadow, Oil on wood, 1996
Meadow at Bernheim, Oil on Wood, 1996










Jack in the Pulpit, Oil on Wood, 1996

The natural forms and phenomena present in Von Rosk’s work come from not just what she sees, but from a deep visual memory system of all the places she have traveled to or visited throughout her life. These particular landscapes are places for reflection and solitude where the artist has filtered out many of the physical realities of a place, emphasizing instead the emotional connection she feels to a space. These works don’t actually show where Von Rosk has been, but rather represent a new place to go.

Bushes at Bernheim, Oil on Wood, 1996

Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program allowed Von Rosk to focus totally on her work. “In one month at this residency, I am able to get the amount of work done that would have probably taken a year otherwise.

Having traveled to many places, Von Rosk was impressed with the beauty, diversity of trees and verdancy of Bernheim and the surrounding region. With her paintings full of color and contrast, the artist was glad she brought plenty of green paint to accompany the work created from exploring this area, sketching woodland scenes and other landscapes. “I think I use just about every shade of green!

The Pines, Oil on Wood, 1996

Laura Von Rosk received her M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and her B.F.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase, NY.  Her paintings have been exhibited nationally in both solo and group shows. Her awards include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting, grants from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, the Bernheim Foundation in Clermont, KY, a Full Fellowship residency at the Vermont Studio Center, a Karen Shea and Gabe Silverman Fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and residencies at Yaddo, Blue Mountain Center, The Millay Colony, Centrum, and Dorland Mountain Arts Colony.

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. Throughout 2020, we are celebrating the contributions of the program’s past that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people to nature.

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