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Laura Sharp Wilson
 January 8 - February 12, 2017

In her fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, Laura Sharp Wilson continues her engagement with densely-composed paintings using acrylic and graphite on mulberry paper mounted on wood.† In these new works, Wilson employs a stronger palette and less naturalistic color than previously.† She creates idiosyncratic environments by combining abstract, textile-like patterned elements with realist references such as architectural structures, strands of beads, prayer flags and botanical forms.† Throughout her compositions, tendrils, stalks and husks suggest the aggressive growth of unfamiliar flora.† At moments the flora appear vaguely sinister, their source unrevealed.† For example, in the painting Sew, jagged black stalks can be read both as husk-like forms and as razor wire.† Naturalistic elements combine with ropes, chains and cords that twist, coil, drape and wind their way through the compositions, interlinking and intertwining the various forms.† In several instances discreet shapes are bound, wrapped, tied and corseted; Wilson has long referenced the work of outsider artist Judith Scott in her paintings.† In this work she also cites the influence of Sam Gilliam, with whom she studied, the stain paintings of Helen Frankenthaler, the blown-up, playful patterns of Lee Krasner, and the persistence of Jay DeFeo.
Wilsonís new paintings also suggest a temporal component through the use of abrupt scale shifts and translucent veils of color. Instead of a single environment, the shifts in scale suggest multiple overlapping spaces and create a greater sense of depth in the work.† At the same time, her use of translucent veils obscures, screens and filters the forms, suggesting other moments in time.† Additionally, weighty elements, such as the oversized metal chains in Fence and Fake Fire, are transformed into ghostly, dematerialized traces. For the artist, these works are her attempt to seek clarity in the confusion of modern day life and a metaphor for the push and pull of human relationships, where less and less common ground is found.
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