Rebecca Crowell interviews Paula Roland about her life as an artist and entrepreneur.
Paula Roland is a life-long artist and teacher with an MFA in painting and sculpture from the University of New Orleans. After many years teaching painting and drawing at the college level, Paula found a niche specializing in encaustic monotype printing and related encaustic topics. Since 1996, these processes and materials have informed her own works, and in turn inspired her teaching.
Born on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Paula spent much of her adult life living and working in nearby New Orleans. Her works address the extremes in nature and the natural world’s nexus with ecology, science, art, and spirit. Since the early 1980s her works have examined natural phenomena and human interaction. Drawn to areas with a strong sense of place that are culturally rich, diverse, and visually inspiring, Roland moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1989.
“Living near Los Alamos National Labs and Chaos Theory think tanks has led to a heightened interest in science, including systems, fractals, and strange attractors. In recent works, I examine ecology through intuitive mapping, finding my way in rapidly changing environments in the natural world through my art. I choose materials for their ability to be somewhat unpredictable or have the ability to change and therefore partner with me in making the work. This process circumvents preconceived ideas and opens me to new possibilities. I engage with the image and medium in a direct and intimate way. With encaustic printing, thought and action are one, much like improvisational music or dance.”
Roland’s awards include commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts and for the US Department of State’s American Embassies in South Africa and Uganda. She was awarded residencies at VCCA in Virginia and in France, and two at the Santa Fe Art Institute, working with Lynda Benglis and with Elizabeth Murray. Articles on Paula Roland have appeared in New American Painting, Surface Design Journal, Artist’s Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, the Santa Fean Magazine and Vasari21 online art magazine. Her works are included in books and media on art, encaustic and installation.