artist statements


Sande Waters

I want my drawings to capture a sense of internal psychological spaces as well as the external body and its organs. The drawings have been shown in a gallery hung from clips that allowed the pieces to float in the air. At up to seven feet in height, they emulated disquieting echoes of viewers’ own bodies. At the same time, they could be perceived as archetypes of the human condition.

Because I am a woman artist, and because in many pieces I appear to be referencing such iconic female symbols as genitalia, the works are perceived as feminist in nature. I am interested in the language of symbols for both sexuality and gender, male and female. I am constantly impressed by the stalwart way our bodies carry our spirits and souls throughout our lives, helping us connect to other people and to a greater spirituality.

My current imagery suggests psychological wounds as well as blood, flesh and orifices, but it has no specific references in nature. I use multiple layers of gestural marks with watercolours, graphite and oil stick in an additive and subtractive process to create imaginary yet suggestive forms. I begin with an intuitive and direct manipulation of watercolour paint. Squeezing, dragging and rubbing paint directly from the tube onto flooded wet surfaces, I allow the liquid colours to spread and form unexpected stains. As I work, I strive to balance the visceral against the precise: here allowing the paint to form hollows and valleys, there allowing the paint to create edges and boundaries. My work has been described as erotic and even pornographic as a result of the fleshy colourations and formations that are created both accidentally and as a result of this guided process.

The process is aided by the forgiving finish of the paper itself. I use a recycled and minimally toxic synthetic paper that has a hard, smooth surface, and that also satisfies my desire to work with “green”, environmentally sound art materials. When I feel the painting stage is finished and completely dry, I use sticks of graphite to define the outer limits of the forms with clean hard edges. I apply the graphite in obsessively-repeated short strokes, then burnish the surfaces to create a shimmering metallic sheen. I like the contradictory nature of the gleaming black grounds, the controlled contours and clean geometric shapes against the organic, visceral metaphors and the gritty deposits of pigment left behind by drying watercolours. I want the viewer to be seduced by the surface of the work itself as much as by the appearance of the forms.