Esther Pearl Watson at Morena di Luna
Angels and aliens, saints and spaceships converge upon Morena di Luna this summer season, blurring the distinction amongst divinity and conspiracy, imagination and belief. In a constellation of pencil-and-foil works on paper, the German-born, Texas-elevated artist Esther Pearl Watson envisions celestial heralds and flying saucers hovering over fields and farmlands, each sheet inscribed with effusive, esoteric titles, these types of as Their fountain of vitality is nuclear fusion and An abundance of oort clouds exist in the galaxy (all functions cited, 2022). The naïve folks model of her paintings on board, paper, panel, and canvas recall devotional Mexican ex-votos in their depictions of small children playing and buying flowers, oblivious to the scintillating spirits and UFOs overhead as nicely as the obsessive spaceship paintings of Romanian “outsider” artist Ionel Talpazan. Watson’s otherworldly imagery is, having said that, most instantly influenced by reminiscences of her father, who has put in much of his lifetime attempting to make and promote spacecraft to NASA.
À la Surrealist assemblage—Eileen Agar’s 1936 Angel of Anarchy will come to mind—Watson has also contrived “meteorites” of stone and earthenware accessorized with glitter, grime, silver leaf, feathers, and sequins, housing them in the gallery’s created-in cupboards alongside discovered photographs of snowy scenes and landscapes doctored with miniature foil UFOs. Watson’s enigmatic upcycling is most achieved in the titular set up, An Obvious Brightness, which brings together nightclub disco balls and dumpster-scavenged mirrors into an ad-hoc pavilion bedizened with eccentric pink fabrics, furs, and piñatas. The work’s devotion to content radiance refers again to its title, an astronomical time period for the luminosity of a star as noticed from Earth.
— Philomena Epps