Word forms as image are the primary focus of my art. Words and symbols, used as marks, are layered on paintings to form a wall of history with meaning at each depth. Aesthetics of words and symbols is of more importance than reading the text, and indeed most of the words I use are totally illegible. I believe man has an intuitive connection to marks, and there is worldwide use of similar mark forms from prehistoric times.
Symbolism has interested me since I was young, and for a long time I incorporated world iconography and the meanings of four and into my art. This led to study of fertility symbols, conjoined with a study of tree symbolism. An interest in checkerboards followed, which led me to a study of chess. I incorporated words in this series from the writings of “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. My paintings evolved at this time into paintings of words, often-large words, with energy, using words of conflict and from chess. Words have been my main interest ever since.
I include medieval illuminated manuscripts among my influences, along with Asian writing and modern graffiti. My marks are polyglot letterforms much as in the movie Blade Runner. I see a huge melding in our world of Asian and Western writing and imagery, as well as life in general. I have always had an affinity for Asian art and allow it to influence many of the shapes I use. I also draw on the energy of modern graffiti, which I see as a source of new energy in abstraction much as African rhythms energized rock and roll and jazz.
I create walls, with scribbling and writings, that may have been made over a period of years. My idea is to have the feel of the shapes, with an intuitive connection, and many layers to create depth. These are imagined underwater, in ancient times, on other planets, or in modern urban settings with layers of graffiti and signage. The marks are universal, somewhat random, and related to music, with layers of writing acting as layers of melody and rhythm.
Nothing is quite concrete, and my work is very intuitive. My work is an affirmation of the human spirit and the mark of the hand. In our modern world, which is growing smaller, the influences of the computer are everywhere. Handwriting is an antidote to that, and connects strongly with people today
Laura Wait lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
She studied art history in college at Barnard College with the idea that she needed to look at art, and that the making could come later. New York was a wonderful place to see art, and she made bi weekly pilgrimages to look at art around the city. She received a BA, cum laude, in Art History from Barnard College, New York, 1975.
Laura lived for a year in Los Angeles in 1975-76, and studied lithography and drawing at Otis Art Institute. LA was another place to spend a lot of time looking and trying to understand current art.
She went to London in 1976 to study printmaking at Croydon College of Art, and received certificate in printmaking with merit for a one-year course in 1977, specializing in intaglio and bookbinding. She continued her studies in traditional bookbinding at Croydon, and received a Certificate with distinction for a three-year course in 1981.
Laura moved to Denver, Colorado in 1981, and started a bookbinding and conservation business, which she ran successfully until 2003. During that time she also worked on her own artist books and paintings, and gave many workshops in book arts. Her artist’s books are in collections worldwide, and have been published in a number of books and articles. In 2003 she decided to give up the bookbinding business and focus her attention completely on her own artwork. In 2004 she moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and had a quiet and fruitful situation to experiment with new art for the next six years.
Laura now lives in Santa Fe. NM. She is married with one son, two dogs, and grows lots of organic vegetables.
Artis Litterarius V
(Latin trans. the art of words)
A Celebration of the letter as image.
Five of five in this series of unique books.
The boards are an irregular altarpiece shapes, with each book being different. Many layers of writing were attached to the original pages, creating different effects and textures.
Several lists of words were used:
- Words concerning writing like calligraphy, typography, manuscript, ligature, script etc
- Words denoting part of something like palimpsest, snippet, flash, scrap etc
- Some fragments of words to do with Sun Tzu such as ubiquitous, resilient, evasive, relentless.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge
Technical: Sewn on linen cords with black linen thread. Cedar siding used for boards. Cords attached through the boards and attached on the inside. Boards are wrapped with Japanese paper then painted with acrylic and varnished with acrylic varnish. Acrylic paint, ink and watercolor were used in this book. Housed in drop back box lined with grey felt.
7 ”x 15 7/8” x 1 5/8”.
Thanks so much to Laura Wait for allowing me to share her work with you. Please go to her web site to see many more beautiful and thought provoking images.