Malia Waro

SMP 2000



 Artist Abstract


One sees new things rapidly everywhere when everything seems new and different. It has to become a part of one's world, a part of what one has to speak with-one paints it slowly. To formulate the new experience into something one has to say takes time
-Georgia O'Keeffe
I began drawing as a form of meditation and observation. I make art from the things that I enjoy looking at and not what others want to see, even though it pleases me when others can relate to my work. What I have seen, felt, and imagined, I translate into art; it has become my therapy.
My mother was my biggest influence in my art making. She used to sit down with me when I was a kid and we'd draw people and landscapes. They were very elementary but it gave me a chance to calm down and focus my attention on something. I was a very active child and I had a short attention span. Drawing became my main translator of personal expression.
Drawings are not the only medium I have used to render my ideas. Whether it is a drawing, painting, or photograph, all of my work deals with spatial issues. I use layers, lines, shapes, surfaces, and values to create ambiguous space. Ambiguous space is not clearly flat or three-dimensional; it combines both possibilities. The unmodeled shapes are the two-dimensional, flat areas within my work. I want the viewer to move through the piece by following the lines, which vary as light, dark, thin, thick, straight, and curvy. Though not totally volumetric, the lines begin to reveal a three-dimensional space. I choose to draw with charcoal to achieve a gradation of line and value. The layered composition edits various parts of the objects to help lead the viewer's eye into an illusionistic space.
My drawings are meant to manipulate the viewer's conviction of what it is they are seeing. Because of the ambiguous space, the image becomes ambiguous as well. One cannot fully figure out what the drawings contain. Yet when one looks closer, one begins to see all the details. It is only then that the objects reveal themselves. When I draw objects I use mirrors to help me construct this sort of ambiguous space. Whether I draw from a skeleton, driftwood, shoes, sculptures, or feathers, they are drawn in such a way as to emphasize the line, mark, and structure the object makes. The ambiguity of space and object is what makes my works mysterious. The mirror helps me to see this.
By placing the mirrors under and around the object, I can see several reflected views, giving me the ability to draw many images within one picture plane. The mirror adds more lines, which become environments, expanding the work's sense of space. The environment places you within the piece as if you could travel through and around the areas. The lines leave the image ambiguous and mysterious, which complements the mysteriousness of the work's meaning. The mirror brings me closer to the nature of the objects.


CompleteArtist Statement and Annotated Bibliography

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