McKenzie Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Laura Sharp Wilson, Utah, her third solo exhibition at the gallery. The show opens Thursday, March 24th with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m.; it runs through Saturday, April 30, 2011.
Working on a small scale, Laura Sharp Wilson's brightly colored acrylic and graphite paintings are her least figurative and most complex to date. They continue her interest in conveying clarity amidst confusion through the use of dense, overlapping patterning and obsessively precise rendering. Abstracted forms, which reflect the artist's interest in ornamentation and excessive decoration, are layered on grounds of colored, back-painted, or masked fields of fibrous or printed paper mounted on wood, imparting both visual and surface texture to the work. Throughout, Wilson has retained the coils, ropes, and vines that encircle, bind, interconnect, dangle from, and at times, nearly strangle her forms.
Writing about the motivations inspiring her new work, Wilson has noted:
Two years ago my family relocated to the state of Utah. This collection of abstract paintings is a response to the weight and density of that move. For someone who loves rain and green vegetation, Utah is a strange, unlikable place. There is a certain stigma to living here when you are an artist, especially if you're a faithless, left-leaning east coaster. But then you get tired of hating the place you live in. The beauty of the snow-covered mountains on a clear day starts to seep in. You become fascinated by the curious overlap of Anasazi, Ute, and Navajo, cowboys, Mormons, U.S. military personnel, and the many souls who journeyed here with the expansion of the west. Roseanne Barr grew up here, Joe Hill died here, Utah Phillips is named for here, and Wallace Stegner learned to write here. The red rock country of southern Utah gets visitors from all over the world, because it looks like another planet. Current-day Utah is an environmental battleground, with the largest open-pit copper mine in the world, wolves and bison, a nuclear testing legacy, oil and gas drilling, and some of the worst air quality in the country. Utah, being a red state, struggles over rights for same-sex couples, and some of its political leaders look to Arizona for policy on immigration. With all of this going on, Utah is a microcosm, illustrating, in one state, the issues our planet grapples with. These paintings attempt to layer, obscure and cross out, while still coming to a clear visual answer, the complexity I see and feel in Utah.