California-based artist Audra Weaser paints abstract ruminations on landscapes, emphasizing shimmering light and a soothing, natural palette. In “Immersion,” her recent solo exhibition at Ruth Bachofner Gallery in Los Angeles’s Bergamot Station, Weaser presented a series of works described by the artist as “physical manifestations of internal experiences,” which depict various cool-toned waterscapes and draw upon Impressionistic techniques to evoke dreamlike environments.
Through the constructive and reductive process of making her work, Weaser attempts to find the essence of a moment in time, evoking light and sensation through brushstroke and form. Beginning with charcoal sketches drawn from her memories of places in nature, Weaser’s laborious process slowly builds up and manipulates layers of paint over these images, hiding her subject. She then sands and scrapes down this surface in instinctual, organic patterns, revealing and emphasizing the original image as it is unearthed, creating blurred likenesses of reflections in water, plant life, and peaceful forest landscapes.
Through her cool palette of blues, greens, and yellows, and her method of fluid, rhythmic painting affords Weaser achieves a visceral feeling in her paintings; the physical nature of the creation process allows her to not only portray the visual components of water, but also to imitate its sonic elements, with the repeated light patterns becoming like a representation of waves lapping on a shore. This ability to evoke the feeling of a place is strongly rooted in the tradition of 19th-century Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists, such as Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet, whose “Water Lilies” series seems to be a strong influence on the works in “Immersion.” Weaser explains that the title of the show “refers to both my process of delving into a painting to discover an underlying composition and a feeling state when faced with large-scale, abstract landscapes,” and that the paintings recreate the humbled response the artist, and perhaps the viewer, may have upon encountering the sublime in nature. She adds that, with this in mind, the works may be seen not only as landscapes but as self-portraits as well.