Using pigmented beeswax, Laura Moriarty creates sculptures that recall geologic formations. As if dug from the center of the earth, her sculptures resemble scientific samples whose strata, nodules and embedded fragments reveal a history of climate shifts, planetary events and cataclysmic disruptions of the earth. Each layer resurfaces the one below, creating successive tiers that vary in thickness and color, marking new eras, delineating ages, and trapping stories that are part of the time/space continuum. Moriarty, who refers to her sculptures as sculptural paintings, describes her process by using geologic terms such as erosion, compression and friction.
Moriarty’s monotypes are directly related to her sculptural paintings not only visually, but also by process. Always aware of the environment and the fragility of the eco-system in which we live and work, she recycles and repurposes materials. In an interview with Frank Juarez, she noted, “…I make monotypes that are a by-product of my sculptural paintings. I use a heated metal plate to shape my sculptures. When done carefully, this can produce finely detailed paint trails as the mass of striated wax slides along the hot plate. I recognized this as an opportunity to use the piece-in-process as a mark making tool and began capturing these mini-landslides on paper as another way of recording process and time.”
Seeing the monotypes and sculptural paintings together, the viewer can explore the range of Moriarty’s work, which is intimately connected not only aesthetically, but also by process.
Marjorie Frankel Nathanson