Laina Terpstra (b. SF, 1991) is an abstract, figurative oil painter currently based in San Francisco. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where her focus was Painting, Modern Dance, Philosophy and Theology. Her work is heavily rooted in expressionistic painting traditions, where some of her influences include Max Beckman, Kirchner, Francis Bacon, and Frank Auerbach. Bay Area Figurative artists Diebenkorn, David Park, and Elmer Bishop were also formative influences. Her work is also in dialogue with more contemporary painters such as Howard Hodgkin, Michael Van Often and Lesley Vance, all of whom are interested in investigating the limitations and metaphors specific to the medium of painting.
Laina's background in modern dance informs her work, in her sensitivity to movement and gesture. The tactility of the paint and her acute awareness of touch evoke a kinesthetic empathy on the part of the viewer that draws one into the internal motion of both the evoked space, and the physical, tactile present. While veering towards abstraction, her compositions always retain an internal scaffolding of realistic space and light. Forms are deconstructed and distilled to their purest elements so that what is left is merely the code of an image that your mind is compelled to complete. Her work explores this liminal place where spaces are sensed rather than recognized, and defined through a logic of sensation, movement, and vibration.