Maggie Laycock is one of nine inaugural winners of the Midwest Award for Artists with Disabilities. This award, designed to support accessibility in the arts and celebrate the exceptional work of disabled Midwestern visual artists, has received an incredible response from the artistic community. Over 200 artists applied to receive funds, and a panel of seven reviewers narrowed the pool to nine finalists from across the Midwest.
“Anxiety-ridden by nature, I frequently hyperfocus on the minutiae. Thematically, I can get lost in quagmires of philosophical moralities that are subtly woven into situations and people that populate the everyday. Often I use negative space, cut-outs, layers, and alternate transparency and opaqueness to explore nuances of light, dark and grey within the human soul, transcendence, and the grittiness of redemption. Many ideas begin with precisely rendered illustrations or fantastical imagery, but I push to expand beyond the limits of the pen, paper and ruminating obsession I carry towards a larger, cohesive vision. Here, material exploration keeps me anchored through challenging myself to incorporate play and curiosity into my process. Recent experiments have included mundane or accessible materials (trashbags, cardboard, pills, paper ephemera) and ways of of drastically transforming them (painting with Pepto-Bismol, thermally activating receipt paper to create areas of contrast, ironing trash bags into a paper-like substrate). I enjoy searching my house or Home Depot, envisioning how something could be used in a manner divergent from its original function. The goal? Forget what I think I know and release ingrained expectations in order to examine the object for what is truly there or what possibilities it presents.“