Laura Sharp Wilson

Artist’s Statement

When falling asleep as a child my mind vacillated between two visions, one being a clear open plane, the other, a sort of garbage dump filled with an intense myriad of texture and color. I define this experience as a contrast between confusion and clarity, a play between what is simple, pure and easy to comprehend and that which is muddled, dense and uncertain. This tension between disparate forces is the undercurrent in my work.

If you are looking, building a visual language will come easily – it may take time but it will come. My work is an amalgamation of abstraction, textile design, knot formations and fantastical botanical structures. Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s abstraction seemed the definition of contemporary art. Abstraction was possibly the easiest to make, yet the hardest to understand. Abstraction was nothing yet it encompassed everything. When Bill McKibben’s “End of Nature” was published in 1989 I began introducing botanical forms as a way of empathizing with and empowering nature. In my late 20’s I felt my art making needed a specific application and I turned to creating surface pattern design for textiles. Working with fabric made me think about threads and tangled skeins. When I returned to painting I made delineated knots, inherently chaotic but clear and precise in their presentation.

Elements of my work are physically rooted in textile design –from Constructivist designs of Vavara Stepanova to Indian palampore (bed curtains) from the 18th century. The delineated renderings of Keith Haring have influenced my flat way of working. I have imitated the way Chris Ofili uses repeated small dots to make a space active. Yayoi Kusama and Adolph Wolfi have inspired my obsessive, crowded compositions.

There are two ways my paintings start, with a general form or a clear visual concept. I build paintings adding a step to the one before allowing the painting to become dense. I will develop it until it enters the visual forum I have invented. Seldom does a painting look the way I might imagine, this is the dialogue and adventure I seek.

Laura Sharp Wilson received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg and her MFA from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She has been exhibiting her work nationally since the mid-1990s, and had her 20th solo exhibition at McKenzie Fine Art in New York this spring. Additionally, her work has been included in scores of group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Her distinctive and idiosyncratic wood-mounted acrylic paintings on paper have been reviewed in Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. Although she was born in New Jersey and raised on the East Coast, Wilson currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 4)


Welcome to Posit 4!

We are delighted to bring you the poetry in this new issue, which assembles a range of poetic approaches to the deployment of razor-sharp vision reflecting our selves and our world(s) with unnerving power and ineffable magic. As always, the work in this issue comes from poets at all stages of their careers and a variety of aesthetic and geographical milieus. We hope you enjoy:

Kristin Abraham’s elliptical yet potent lyric investigations into the violently carved ‘wife-shaped face’ of American femininity as well as the asymmetrical “hog-thick tension” and “derivative violence” of our diode-logical relationships;

Simeon Berry’s wryly wrought encounters of Nix, a “biped without a face,” with the “negative/cathedral[s]” of our final inevitable “unreal estate,” nimbly transmogrifying sound puns to meaning puns with wit and grace;

Dana Curtis’s hallucinogenic psycho-documentaries with their “known lights . . . spiraling out . . . into [a] fog shrouded museum;”

Raymond Farr’s wonderfully threatening contemporary mythology, replete with Delphic Oracle;

Derek Graf’s ‘forest’ of prose blocs in which the silent and the voiced intertwine to re-imagine tropes as rich and strange as “the cold equations of hills and the cloven vandal of the moon;”

Carolyn Guinzio’s unsettling gaze reflecting our world in the hypnotic spin of a snake’s eye and complicating meaning via a counterpoint of interwoven narratives emitting implications of incantatory resonance;

Tim Kahl’s blunt and surprising vision, inviting us in from the numb comfort of our societal “avoid room” and guiding us “into position to receive the new settings from the old intelligence;”

Drew Kalbach’s “polycarbonate enhanced/enriched plastic” urban techno narratives, gleaming like “pure chemical reactions where no chemicals are found and nobody takes a picture to prove it;”

Jared Schickling’s mad constructions, “an epicurean trip thru quantum entanglement” conjuring up verbal parallels to the work of Jackson Pollock;

Marius Surleac’s collisions of punk rock with bucolic pastoralism, making us “lose our minds smoking pot made of sharp corn blades;”

Lewis Warsh’s deceptively relaxed and conversational lines snaking from the daily to the universal, the evident to the profound, with lingering resonance and masterful grace;

and Karen Zhou’s deft and haunting constructions, weaving us into her magical world of “nebular wild white,” “tattooed tulips” and “the impossibility of brûléed snow.”

As ever, thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art in Posit 4!

ShinYeon Moon’s work explores the masks that people wear and the people beneath those masks — who we appear to be, and who we fear we are. Deeply psychological, Moon draws the inspiration for these haunting works from poetry, mythology, and her own life.

Gina Pearlin’s paintings are like bits of half-remembered dreams of a bygone era in an unnamed country. Despite their dreamlike quality, there’s a solidity about these pieces that plants them firmly in time and space. At once surreal and concrete, her vision reveals a world that is grim yet strangely beautiful, asking questions only the viewer can answer.

James Rauchman’s paintings draw us into a world of organic shape and form. Densely packed, the canvases often seem poised to burst open. They pulse with a life of their own, like biological specimens under a magnifying glass. At the same time, Rauchman is addressing formal ideas of figure and ground. The paintings dance back and forth between foreground and background, creating a lyrical tension which addresses central questions in contemporary painting.

With a wry sense of humor, Kevin Snipe’s work documents urban life and relationships between men and women. He uses the physicality of ceramics to work around, in, under, and through the visual narratives. These sculptures operate on both two and three dimensions, the visual narrative of the drawings reinforced by the sculpted forms. Snippets of dialogue float through these pieces, like conversations overheard on a subway.

And Laura Sharp Wilson’s work assembles forms that hark from many realms: under the sea, under a microscope, and in the sky. They appear as both decorative and highly structured scientific portraits of an alternative universe. Using vivid and beautiful color palettes combined with precise drawing, these paintings suggest multiple possibilities stemming from the natural and scientific worlds.


Melissa Stern