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  • Writer's pictureDavid Eichholtz

Laura Watt, “Time Lapse”, Debuts New Paintings Evoking Uncertain Times and Landscapes, At David Richard Gallery

Updated: Feb 11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:





Laura Watt

Announcement

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023

44 x 48 inches



LAURA WATT


Time Lapse



Chelsea, New York City

508 West 26 ST, Suite 9E

David Richard Gallery


Artist Reception: Thursday, March 14 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM


February 14 – March 14, 2024

  


David Richard Gallery is pleased to present Laura Watt, Time Lapse, all new paintings created mostly in 2023 and her third solo exhibition with the gallery. There are several new and important aspects in this newest body of work that sets the mood and underlying thesis at this point in her career. Some aspects were process driven and others conscious decisions regarding the formal properties and resulting compositions. The combinations culminated in a subconscious and conceptual underpinning that evolved in Watt’s thinking as the work unfolded over the course of the prior 18 to 24 months. The presentation includes 8 of the dozen or so paintings in the series at this point.


 About Laura Watt’s Artworks:


Patterning and layering patterns one on top of the other has been an important aspect of Laura Watt’s painting process and compositions. Such patterns, until now, provided both the forms in and subjects of Watt’s compositions as well as the grounds. However, in this new body of work, Watt has disrupted that approach by focusing on one pattern at a time, confined within a single passage of the composition, thereby fragmenting the patterns. The artist states, “Pattern has become patches of nets and multi-colored rays announcing nothing.” Yet, the new approach yields 2 significant results.


First, Watt has altered her process and the starting point for this body of work which is staining the canvas with mostly dark moody hues. This crucial first step provides both the grounds and suggests the placement of the patterns, which become the focal points and vessels for most of the vivid colors in the paintings. Thus, the paintings have a more organic approach and quality as the artist responds to each prior mark before laying down the next.


Second, by moving away from the canvas filling and overlapping patterns, several things now happen simultaneously. The patterning becomes fragmented as dictated by the initial staining and opens the paintings, providing spatial depth and multiple points of entry into the compositions. The initial staining frequently becomes a prominent feature in the final compositions. In fact, the staining often creates a horizon line suggesting a landscape reference, which later becomes important from a conceptual standpoint. The other important result is the patterns are not tethered to a singular perspectival point nor the entirety of the canvas. The patterns are ungrounded and floating. This last effect is what creates the conceptual underpinning and interpretation of this body of work, particularly in the context of her last painting series and solo exhibition at the gallery, Horizon Event.  


Watt conceived of and painted the works in Horizon Event during the latter half of the pandemic while spending a great deal of her time outdoors enjoying nature in upstate New York. She viewed the paintings as “optimistic” and “exuberant”, stating, “they [were] paintings about orientation and becoming, of things coalescing and forming.” By contrast, in a post-pandemic world, that positivity from finally emerging out of the pandemic has been traded for a country and world more divided than ever politically with two tragic international wars and an environmental situation that often feels apocalyptic. Watt said, “[she feels] the paintings that make up Time Lapse speak to disorientation, of things falling apart, moving away.”


A couple of paintings in particular reference the political, cultural, and ecological dismays noted above. Announcement, 2023 is comprised of hot colored rays of red and yellow situated in the upper and lower halves of the nearly square painting, splitting the canvas roughly in half and speaking to binaries and polarization. The composition, Foreign Shores, 2023, is subversive with the engaging warm colorful palette as it creates a powerful divide with red hues on the top and greens on the bottom. The dense swath of yellow in the center with lozenge-shaped patterns within patterns evokes minions doing as instructed,  following orders and not ones heart or conscience.  Weather Report, 2023 and the pair of smaller 18 x 24-inch related canvases, Weather Pattern #2 and #4, were inspired by weather maps on her phone's weather app. These paintings comment on the abundance of data that is used to explain the current extreme weather events on one hand, while on the other hand and conversely, selectively using the data to discount the global situation by distorting the same data for the purpose of disinformation.  


Watt wrote in a statement, “Initially I was interested in making a group of paintings in which poured and stained grounds dictated how the pattern behaved, where it could go. So, in a sense, the resulting paintings are a time lapse of that original intent. How that intent survives over a year of being looked at and periodically acted upon. By early summer it was becoming clear that the paintings might be about orientation and disorientation; about spaces that speak to a world getting stranger, an alien [and] less hospitable world than what we have known. An ambiguous world that pattern attempts to make sense of.”


Aside from the conceptual under currents and news-induced disappointments with mankind and sadness as noted above, these paintings are wild based solely on the formal properties! The vibrantly colored vector rays, the contrast of soft matte-stained canvases and overlays of lush, seductive colors, with bubble clouds and optical patterns, one (at least of a certain age) cannot help but be reminded of psychedelia, optical rock posters, and liquid light shows at the Fillmore East and Winterland Arena concert halls in New York and San Francisco, respectively. Psychedelia and the 1960s rock posters often brought together seeming disparate images and references  such as Surrealism, Art Nouveau, paisley patterns, and Op Art. Maybe the disaggregation that Watt experiences and portrays in her paintings as well as her tilt toward psychedelia are two sides of the same coin when it comes to the formal approaches for picturing turbulent times and a fractured populous, whether in the 1960s or today in our media laden, image saturated, and pluralistic world. 


About Laura Watt:


Laura Watt was born in Lancaster PA and currently lives and works in Garrison, NY. She studied at Bennington College and earned her MFA from Yale University. Watt”s paintings and drawings have been shown nationally and internationally including exhibitions at: MACA, Philadelphia; St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia; Phillips Museum at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster; State Museum of Pennsylvania; and Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster all in Pennsylvania; and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield; New Haven Museum, New Haven; and Stamford Museum, Stamford all in Connecticut. Watt has also exhibited at McKenzie Fine Art, Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Lesley Heller Workshop, Locks Gallery and numerous other galleries and institutions. Her artworks are in the collections of Lancaster Museum of Art and many private collections. Watt taught at Tyler School of Art for 5 years and presently sits on the board of the Vermont Studio Center.


About David Richard Gallery:


In 2015 David Richard Gallery launched DR Art Projects to provide a platform for artists of all stripes—international, national, local, emerging and established—to present special solo projects or to participate in unique collaborations or thematic exhibitions. The goal is to offer a fresh look at contemporary art practice from a broad spectrum of artists and presentations. The Gallery opened its current location in New York in 2017.


Since its inception in 2010, David Richard Gallery has produced museum quality exhibitions that feature Post War abstraction in the US. The presentations have addressed specific decades and geographies as well as certain movements and tendencies. While the gallery has long been recognized as an important proponent of post-1960s abstraction—including both the influential pioneers as well as a younger generation of practitioners in this field—in keeping with this spirit of nurture and development the gallery also presents established artists who embrace more gestural and representational approaches to the making of art as well as young emerging artists.

 

All Artworks: Copyright © Laura Watt

Photographs by David Eichholtz

Courtesy David Richard Gallery.






Laura Watt

Marker

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023

50 x 45 inches









Laura Watt

On It Goes

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023

44 x 70 inches








Laura Watt

Weather Report

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023

45 x 50 inches








Laura Watt

Foreign Shores

Acrylic and oil on canvas

2023

44 x 48 inches

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