From a distance, Laura Moriarty’s latest sculpture ‘Upheaval’ looks like its namesake. Displaced mounds of waxen pigment are collected on two large, wooden pallets, tilted and overlapping like slowly advancing tectonic plates. Upon closer approach, the geomorphic formations of paint reveal incredible diversity – unexpected veins of color, striations of texture, and glimpses of interior spaces. Hovering over the painting is akin to snorkeling; the vast array of visual information allows the viewer to drift in and out of coves of color.
Throughout Laura Moriarty’s work, there is a feeling of confronting a parallel, natural world. Working and reworking molten wax, the artist builds each object through a layered and physical approach often hinted at within the titles. Such is the case with ‘Fold Mountain,’ a small sculpture that reveals a cross section of richly saturated terrain. It is a painting that depicts the history of its own creation. Layers of color form strata of a working process, and the immediacy of the ‘hand’ of the artist is replaced with a sense of geological time.
Laura Moriarty occasionally refers to her sculptural paintings as ‘specimens,’ but they can also be read as scientific models, scaled-down replicas of larger events. Her work is a series of empirical, visual experiments that invite the viewer to observe, compare, and analyze physical data. They are core samples of the act of painting, promoting innovation in the timeworn study of materials and methods