PDX CONTEMPORARY ART presents Waiting Room, an exhibition of hand-stitched works by Heather Watkins. Made while in waiting rooms of one kind or another, these compositions are quiet artifacts of a process both obsessive and meditative—one that records the particular and relatable labor of being (a) patient.
In thin colored thread, Watkins incrementally builds compositions that are both made of time and representative of it. She distills and integrates numerous ideas and influences into her densely stitched abstract forms. In them, a viewer can see echoes of the work of Anni Albers, Agnes Martin, and Sheila Hicks as well as references to the visual structures of text and the sensation of reading, to images generated for diagnostic testing and the growth patterns of organic forms. In process and presence, the work activates waiting—requiring and revealing a particular kind of attention.
Heather Watkins is an artist whose practice includes experimental forms of drawing and printmaking, book arts, installation and sculpture. She holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a dual Bachelor’s from Pitzer College in English and Classical Studies. She has been the recipient of grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Family Foundation, and the Regional Arts & Culture Council and has been awarded residencies at Caldera (Sisters, OR), the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology (Otis, OR) and Em Space Book Arts Center (Portland, OR). Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions regionally and nationally including at the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), The Lumber Room (Portland, OR), Planthouse (New York, NY), and CANADA (New York, NY). Her work is included in the collections of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (Eugene, OR), the Miller Meigs Collection (Portland, OR), the Portland Art Museum, and the Artist’s Book Collection of the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), as well as in numerous library collections.