Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is thrilled to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Esther Pearl Watson. Watson, who is based in Los Angeles, grew up in series of small towns outside of Dallas, Texas with her siblings, mother, and flying saucer-building father, Gene. Her father’s flying saucers and the nomadic aspects of her childhood inspire her “memory paintings,” which playfully narrate the experience of an economically precarious family living in rural America. Watson’s work highlights an absurd, persistent, and particularly American optimism that only seems to grow stronger in the face of failures of family, policy and the American Dream
Watson’s paintings depict farmland and highways, oil rigs and pay day loan storefronts, playgrounds and parking lots each with a brief memory written in the corner of the painting to describe the scene. All the while, glittering flying saucers dot the sky and the children, usually pictured in something of a cheerful tumble, seem to be the ones narrating the text as if recollecting the facts years later. In one scene, we see Esther in her living room studio, surrounded by glittering flying saucer paintings, her animals asleep on the wooden floor. The text in the upper corner of the painting, which also serves as the title, reads “Sierra Madre, California. Dream Keeper. Gene Watson returned to Italy and no longer builds large flying saucers. Esther Pearl Watson. 2018.”
Esther Pearl Watson has an MFA from CalArts. Her paintings have been exhibited worldwide including at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Her award-winning comic ”Unlovable” is published in Bust Magazine and with Fantagraphics. She has published Blood Lady Commandos, on Vice online and Welcome to Crapland on Adult Swim online. She has taught at Oxbow Artist Residency, The Lexicon of Sexicana at Columbia College in Chicago, and Artist-in-Residence at Grafikiens Hus in Mariefred, Sweden and is currently teaching at Art Center College of Design.