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Exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artist Laura Watt opens at McKenzie Fine Art
Passage, 2013. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- McKenzie Fine Art announces an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Philadelphia-based artist Laura Watt. This is her third solo show with the gallery.

In this exhibition, Watt’s engagement with pattern, overlapping forms and vivid color moves into a more personal and emotional realm. In a series of large square paintings, the artist retains the characteristic cruciform structure found in earlier works. Previously, that form was overlaid with a mandala structure, imparting a meditative quality to the paintings. In the new work, she has instead incorporated a star grid, originating from the center of the composition and radiating outward to convey energetic movement and give a Pop playfulness to the work.

Watt was inspired by comic book imagery, particularly superhero insignia, 1960s rock posters, and the work of Japanese artist Tadanoori Yokoo. Additionally, Watt cites a college visit to Robert Indiana’s studio on Vinalhaven Island, where his paintings hung amongst armor and antique furniture in a former Odd Fellows hall. She notes that she sees these paintings as “something like flags or shields for ‘states of mind’ —propositions of personal mythologies. In all of this there is a bit of the comic, the overly dramatic — a bit of flag waving.” One new painting in this group has an opposite cast, however. With a large central doily shape floating on a black field, and with corner patterns representing the four seasons and the passage of time, Watt relates this image to a Victorian memento mori.

The exhibition includes a series of small-scale linear paintings of overlapping vector lines. Lacking a distinct horizon, the allusive lines aggregate into loose masses, possibly referring to radar screens or search lights. As Watt notes, the lines “radiate out from a hallmarked source, meant to bring attention to it, but really just showing the dark spaces between.” There are also small square and tondo paintings in the exhibition. Here, the artist has embraced the challenge of reduced scale to simplify the composition and focus on distinctive patterns and repeated imagery to kaleidoscopic effect.

Gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Sunday the gallery opens at noon. Mondays and Tuesdays are open by appointment.

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