Esther Pearl Watson

Region: Pacific Coast

My work has always been about telling stories, transporting the viewer through the patchwork fields and towns of my Texas childhood. I began working in the vernacular of memory paintings in 2003. My family kept few photos of the car-sized flying saucers built by my visionary father. The text in the upper corners of the paintings tell just enough of the story to twist the perspective of the often cheerful imagery. Blobby figures act out our family’s optimistic pursuit of the American Dream despite lack of income, bureaucratic restrictions, and human error.

My eccentric father’s obsession with building spaceships out of scrap metal in the backyard often led to disastrous results, forcing our family to move again and again. We were always one step ahead of trouble. The field being set on fire through the careless use of an acetylene torch or our TV being pawned for a sheet of aluminum were not uncommon experiences for us. Aluminum and glittery saucers hover like a dream visualized, always just above trouble.