Summer Gallery Exhibit Inspires Meditation

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (June 12, 2012) – For painter Laura Watt, pattern and color are old strategies of knowledge, calling viewers back to the Arabic tiles, Buddhist mandalas, Amish quilts and Scottish tartans of history. From Thursday, June 28 to Friday, Aug. 3, a collection of her work, titled “Depth of Illusion,” will be on display in Saint Joseph’s University Gallery.

Densely patterned and composed of clean geometric shapes, Watt’s oil paintings are not just kaleidoscopic images, but forms that reflect everyday life – the structures that are the basis of the natural and architectural world – and invite those viewing the artwork to take part in its transcendental experience.

“Repetition and pattern are a means of transforming. Metaphoric and suggestive, pattern is a reminder of the infinite,” says Watt. “A painting is an altered state, and to give yourself over to looking is to enter that altered state.”

For Watt, the act of painting is a meditative, spiritual experience. After completing three works titled “Primary Forms,” she learned to paint a yantra, a visual meditation tool composed of geometric forms. Like the Buddhist mandala, the Hindu yantra is a way of representing the universe through the use of shape and pattern.

“I find many correlations between my own art and sacred visual works that are made as meditation tools,” says Watt. “Geometry and geometric patterns form the primary structure of the composition. Working repetitively, with intention, puts one in a meditative state, an ‘other’ state, just as contemplation of the patterns does.” “Watt's pieces are full of depth, not merely lines and shapes,” says Jeanne Bracy, associate gallery director. “Her forms float in the dimensions that she creates with the varied lines and shapes.  These dimensions draw the viewer in to examine each painting's unique qualities.”

Watt received her B.F.A. from Bennington College in Vermont and her M.F.A. from Yale University. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, from New York to Medellin, Colombia. She received the Helen Winternitz Award from Yale University.

Saint Joseph’s University Gallery is located in Merion Hall on the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus at 376 Latches Lane in Lower Merion, Pa. A campus map may be viewed online. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840 or visit the gallery website at

Media Contact

Contact: Patricia Allen, Senior Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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