Artist Statement for Women’s Room

The “Scarification Series” sculptures and paintings grew out of my interest in African art and ritual scarification, where the skin is pierced to create patterns of raised scars on the body to signify rites of passage. Each work embodies a powerful physical presence and spirit which evolves over time from the process of manual labor and working the material intuitively.

I am challenged by the ambiguity of metal—turning flat, hard, industrial material into organic forms that seem to shift and move as they reflect light. Layers of colored patinas bring the aesthetics of painting to sculpture. The layers of shifting dark and light shapes, texture and color evoke a sense of mystery, inviting the viewer to explore the work.

The process of developing a piece of art is analogous to the process of ritual scarification, and the process of life itself—in spite of our original plans, all require sacrifice, pain and loss in order to create something more beautiful, with a more intensely developed character. For me, part of the appeal of the process is the extreme amount of deconstruction—cutting up and taking apart—that is necessary before the work can be re-ordered as a unified organic presence. The tension between the sense of exuberance and growth, and death and decay creates a sense of mystery that invites the viewer to explore these works in depth.

©Joan Waters  All rights reserved

Scarification Series
Scarification Series: Amber, Rose, Indigo, welded steel with patinas 


“Scarification Series: Wood”  acrylic on canvas, 60 x 40 in.


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