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A Gleaning

April 29, 2008 to May 31, 2008




Heather Watkins

Intuitively and intentionally, I have tracked the expressive potential of many materials in pursuit of a certain kind of line. I work with the fluidity of ink and the flexibility of fibers to conjure images of something restless or impatient, then—momentarily—calm. What I am seeking is elusive, but seems to dart and glide between awkwardness and ease.

I found a tattered basketball net in a parking lot in Claremont, California in 1991, which became item #1 in an ongoing collection of fragments of rope, cord, string, line, netting, mesh, ribbon and cloth. To date my hoard is composed of many frayed fibers gleaned from beaches, river banks, garbage bins, city curbs and friends' fruit baskets. I use and present these materials in a variety of ways, but each drawing or assemblage I make involves an exchange—trading in intended function for aesthetic value.

Abstraction of this type has led me to consider the ways in which we characterize invisible or fleeting experiences in physical terms—the weight of a burden, the twist of a plot, spinning thoughts. I have come to understand these works as portraits—not of outward appearances, but rather of attitudes, group dynamics or internal processes. Such small, personal, psychically-charged scenarios inhabit my recent work.