Laurence Durieu was born in Brussels in 1972. She spent her childhood in the countryside in Hévillers, a small village in Walloon Brabant. Today, she lives with her family in Meise and paints in her studio in Mechelen.

Her predilection for figurative painting arose quite young. Her teacher’s reaction to one of her drawings made her understand the emotions that an image can trigger. Later at school, during art history class, she was fascinated by a report on Jan Van Eyck and by the analysis of the painting « Arnolfini portrait » because it contained many mysteries and hidden symbols. This body of work inspired her and helped her understand the composition of artworks. It also motivated her to create large as well as small detailed artworks with oil paint. 

She started painting over a decade ago as a student at the Municipal Academy of Fine Arts Jan Portaels in Vilvoorde (Belgium) and later at the SLAC Visual & Audiovisual Arts in Leuven (Belgium).

Today, Laurence Durieu lets us look inside living rooms, with or without people and always with animals and plants. 

She paints scenes from everyday life, easy to understand but at the same time enigmatic. Often, people are sitting around a table, a family whose members are fairly self-contained and surrounded by animals and plants. Windows overlook the outside world. On some artworks the fields are ploughed and arrive right up against the house, on other artworks the fields are flooded or on fire. 

Even though the scenes may appear chaotic, absurd and even surreal, domestic intimacy is never lost. From the outside, the viewer sees that something is wrong in this world, and yet everyone goes on with their daily activities as if nothing is wrong.

The artist’s pictorial universe is highly personal. The intriguing compositions are composed from photographs of her own family and home, childhood memories such as the tame bird (a jackdaw) Milou who came to sit on her shoulder. Before painting a work in oil, she often makes detailed preparatory drawings in pencil.

The artist enjoys making connections between her works and those of old painters, including the Flemish primitives (Dieric Bouts, Gerard David,… ) for whom she has great admiration.

 “I like to make all kinds of connections. Not only with people and animals but also with old works of art and consequently also indirectly with the artist who is often no longer in this world. It is as if, in analysing the old artwork and in creating my own composition, I was in dialogue with the painter. Therefire I use the Golden Ratio, which allows me to divide the old artwork into nine rectangles and try to imagine why the artist put this or that object or character in each rectangle. It’s a magical moment when I have the impression that time becomes elastic: the past dislocates the present and the present feels like the past, as if there were no longer any notion of time, as if it were suspended. »

Since 2020, she has been developing her own style, painting full-time and participating in competitions. 

In 2021, she received an honourable mention at the Prize Louise Dehem in Ypres (Belgium) and was selected for the Ronse Drawing Prize drawing competition. 

In 2022, she was part of the selection for the Gaverprijs in Waregem (Belgium), was retained to exhibit at the Museum M in Leuven (Belgium) for the exhibition Open M and was awarded the second prize for the Piet Staut Painting Prize in Beveren (Belgium). 

In 2023, she held her first solo exhibition “A Family Affair” in Ostend with CAPS (Contemporary Art Projects). 

In 2024, her second solo exhibition will be with CAPS at Rivoli Brussels (Contemporary Art Galleries).

Solo Exhibition « A family Affair »
CAPS, Oostende, 2023
© Paul Poelmans