Laura Wilson

My work revolves around the idea of nature as something we manipulate and are disconnected from. I let actual plant forms inspire me to create an alternate “natural” universe. As if my connection to humankind’s original surroundings has been so severed, I’m force to recreate my own environments. My botanical inventions then represent some kind of human activity. This may be economic, political or social: the logging industry, anarchy, the act of compassion.

Primary elements in my work are knotting and pattern. In 1991 I began a series of “knot” paintings, which were simple flat renderings of tangled threads. I loved the way the knots could be drawn with clarity, but were inherently chaotic. In the early 1990’s I studied surface textile design and became intrigued by the history of pattern used for fabrics. During this time I created a series of pattern designs in gouache. I loved the flat jewel-like quality of gouache and playing with the myriad ways forms could repeat.

My visual language is physically rooted in textile design –from William Morris’ decorative patterns, to the Constructivist designs of Vavara Stepanova to Indian palampore (bed curtains) from the 18th century. The delineated renderings of Keith Haring have influenced my flat way of working. I have imitated the way Chris Ofili uses repeated small dots to make a space active. Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama and Adolph Wolfi have inspired my obsessive, crowded compositions.

My paintings are done on oriental paper, primarily Unryu. Unryu is a mulberry paper, somewhat translucent which has long threads running through it. The threads, like floating stems relate to my botanical, knotted imagery. Oriental papers tend to be soft and pliable, more like fabric, appealing to the textile reference in my work. Several years ago I began employing pencil in the paintings to offset the opacity of the acrylic paint.

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