Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Laura Watt, McKenzie Fine Art, New York, NY, November 19 - December 19, 2009

Click here for McKenzie Fine Art

Laura Watt's brightly colored oil paintings and gouache drawings are geometric in form and densely patterned. She favors repeated structures--predominately rectangular and diamond-shaped--and forms set within forms. These are arranged in spiraling and spinning compositions, almost kaleidoscopic, and are never entirely hard-edged; instead the paintings have organic movement and painterly irregularities. Other works are distinctly linear in feel, with web-like grids encasing geometric shapes that bulge and undulate across the surface. While the paintings possess affinities with Op and psychedelic painting, Watt has long been interested in painting as a transcendent activity and abstraction as a means of spiritual expression. She cites influences as far-ranging as Buddhist mandalas, Arabic tiles, Pygmy bark cloths, Amish quilts and Scottish tartans, to name a few.

Recently Watt learned to paint a yantra, a visual tool composed of precise geometric forms for the purpose of meditation. One creates a yantra in order to meditate on a particular aspect of the tantra, the study of the universal from the point of view of the individual. Yantras are abstract constructions made in a specified manner, with each element having symbolic as well as structural meaning. They are painted in a clockwise direction working inward toward the center, where a gold dot stands as the final mark of the painting. Watt finds many correlations between her own paintings and such sacred visual work, with its use of geometric pattern as the primary image structure and repetition as an underlying working method. She believes these methods create a bridge between the maker and the receiver, and notes that "working repetitively, with intention, puts one in a meditative state, just as the contemplation of these patterns does. We meet in the pattern." Watt's paintings, like yantras, are built from simple geometries and simple patterns, and then through repetition the paintings open to multiple possibilities of form. For the artist, pattern is metamorphic and suggestive as well as a reminder of the infinite.

(from the press releae of the exhibition)

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