Reverie is defined as a daydream, or the condition of being lost in thought. The origins of the word can be traced back to rever, which in Old French translates to the state of delirium, or of being delirious. The term is an apt one to describe both the visual qualities of Audra Weaser’s dream-like abstracted landscapes, as well as the dreamy state of meditation they conjure. JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present the artist’s recent body of work in which Weaser continues her meditative study of cognition, memory, light, and the natural landscape.
Utilizing a minimalist color palette, Weaser’s process-based paintings are excavations of memories shaped by time. Working tirelessly, Weaser has to put down layers of color quickly before the quick-drying paint becomes permanently fixed on the panels. In this way she builds up fluid layers intuitively placing large swathes of color while working the entirety of the surface. Layers of paint are collaged into seamless undulations pierced by lighter areas, reminiscent of dappled sunlight. It is these spots of brightness that the artist then excavates, exposing the base panel while re-connecting the layers of paint on top back into the whole of the image. Using a sander, Weaser takes away areas of color, cutting through to the bottom of the composition in organic movements that echo the direction of her brushstrokes, revealing the final composition.
For Weaser, these dreamscapes come from a particular childhood memory, re-imagined and recreated through the artist’s process as an adult. According to the artist,
“I was looking at these home videos my father took, they’re in the forest, and he’s panning up the trees, and the light is coming through….I like to refer back to those, or prints or photos I have taken….it is just flashes that I remember…it is so beautiful and uncluttered, and just enjoyable to go back to that peaceful feeling.”
In Weaser’s work there are echoes of the aesthetic visions of the great American and European traditions of Romantic landscape painting. Though the artist draws from many of the same awe-inspiring feelings of confrontation with nature, her process also makes the work intensely introspective, urging the viewer to turn inward and forge a connection to a personal evocation. The scale of the works contributes to an immenseness of presence relaying submergence into sense-memory, while seemingly incidental moments of captivating beauty provide ample room for exploration.
Audra Weaser (b. 1967) is a Los Angeles-based artist, with a practice rooted in process. For the past decade her work has focused on nature. She holds an M.F.A. in painting from Claremont Graduate University, and has exhibited widely both nationally and abroad, with work in numerous private and public collections.