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Date/Time: Thursday, May 20, 2021 7:00PM, MST

Open to participants in TAG’s Speaker Series

Speaker’s name:  Joan Waters

Speaker’s website: http://www.joanwaters.com

Joan Waters earned her BFA from The Maryland Institute, College of Art, where she studied African art with Prof. James E. Lewis. She is originally from England, and grew up on the East coast of the U.S. In her childhood she travelled to the Caribbean many times with her family, where she developed the love of saturated tropical colors which are seen in her art. These travels exposed her to foreign cultures, and helped her cultivate the habit of looking at the world from different perspectives. This is reflected in her art in the use positive/negative shapes which play with shifting figure/ground relationships.

Waters’ paintings and metal sculptures suggest the energies and forms of nature without directly depicting natural scenes. By concentrating her will and energy into the materials, the work attains a visceral power and vibration of its own.

In 1989, Ms. Waters moved to Phoenix, Arizona where the abundance of light and feeling of spaciousness were integrated into her large abstract acrylic paintings. At age 34, breast cancer surgery and six months of chemotherapy forced Ms. Waters to take time off in order to get well; during this period of introspection, a re-examination of priorities led to her decision to commit more time to painting and drawing, and to exhibit her work more often. A welding class at Mesa Community College introduced Waters to the challenges of working in steel.

Ms. Waters exhibits her work extensively in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and on the East Coast, and her work is in numerous public and private collections. Recent commissions include public art for City of Chandler, City of Phoenix, Mesa Permanent Sculpture Collection, Mesa Community College, Copper Sun Child Center and Burton Barr Central Library. Waters was guest curator of the Herberger Theater Gallery for the 2007 season. The artist welcomes commissions and enjoys the synergy of the collaborative process.

Artist Statement:
 “I interpret the rhythms, shapes and movements found in nature, without directly representing easily recognizable objects or scenes. Each painting and sculpture embodies a powerful physical presence and spirit which evolves over time from the process of manual labor and working the metal intuitively. These sculptures and paintings grew out of my interest in African art and ritual scarification, where the skin is pierced to create patterns of raised scars are created on the body to signify rites of passage. I am challenged by the ambiguity of metal—turning flat, hard, industrial material into organic forms that seem to shift and move as they reflect light.”

Title of presentation:  Exploring infinity:  Cross pollinating welded steel sculptures and paintings

Description of presentation:  

Joan Waters will present examples of her recent work in welded steel, painting, and ceramics; including in-process images, and discuss how the work develops.  “In the same way that nature manifests a seemingly infinite variety of form and color, I feel challenged to explore and invent in my work.  By working across different mediums, using both industrial tools and fine art materials, I try to go beyond the ‘rules’ about making art – to pursue the idea of infinite possibilities.  I hope to discover new ways of making marks and creating visual reality that help people get out of their heads and experience the visceral, positive sense of the work in a powerful way.”


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