Tied in “Nots”

Claire Watson is restless. The sculptor becomes intrigued with material, creates a body of work, and then moves on. So far, the Water Mill artist has used leather gloves, paint brushes, elegant smoking pipes and kitchen utensils. Her artwork suggests the figure but reaches for more.

Domestic history, word play, duty vs. pleasure, implications from imagery and fragments of half-forgotten memories are infused in her abstracted figurative forms. Watson’s work startles and then draws you in with wonder.

Her latest series uses length of thick rope that arises with snake charmer magic or floats with the grace of underwater mammoths. “Nots” features tabletop sculptures and suspended artworks that seem to capture, in mid-motion, a dance by mythical creatures. The shadow each one casts is an integral part of the art. Contradictions in the figures are important. Drawings that depict partial portraits of sculptures project prominent shadows occupying center stage.

“Nots” explores the “raveling and unraveling of metaphysical knots,” according to the Anthony Giordano Gallery where the work was exhibited in June and July. “It is through the process of sculpture and drawing that Watson finds poetry in the materials that she uses.”

Watson describes her latest works this way: “Knots in rope are puzzles to wrangle: like mathematical equations their solutions lie in patterns that can be difficult to grasp. ‘Nots’ refers to the visual riddle that ends in a pun, the tangle that language can become, and the object that is identified with its shadow.”

Through the manipulated rope and its patterns, puzzles and implied humanity, the artwork conjures the experience of language tangled and the uneasy conclusion of deciphered conundrums.

“Nots: Sculpture and Drawing” was presented in a solo exhibition at the Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College in Oakdale from June 5 to July 17, 2011. Watson is exhibiting at the Patchogue Arts Biennial to be presented from Oct 24 to Nov 13 at Briarcliff College in Patchogue.

Watson’s work has been exhibited at Art Sites in Riverhead and Moi-Meme Gallery Space in NYC. Her international credits include Germany and Austria. National credits include Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, California, Vermont and more. Watson’s a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a sculpture fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts, an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy and other awards.

Her work can be viewed at http://clairewatson.net

pat rogers

Pat Rogers is a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture on Long Island. When not going to art openings or interviewing actors or musicians, she’s looking for the next interesting story.