Close Look:

Melissa Watt at Institute 193, Lexington

By August 29, 2020
Melissa Watt, After You, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Institute 193.
Melissa Watt, Blue Lagoon, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Institute 193.

In nature, symmetry occurs only in approximation. It exists in recognizable modes such as radial symmetry in starfish or most flowers, which are symmetrical on rotational axes, and in bilateral, mirrored forms, as in butterflies and the human face. These forms of symmetry are first present at molecular, cellular, and embryonic levels, but it is the process of symmetry breaking that shapes every organism’s growth: plants and animals break from the genetic patterning of their predecessors, destroying old patterns to create new ones.

from the exhibition text

Melissa Watt, Meanwhile, the World Goes On, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Institute 193.
Melissa Watt, Under A Blue Moon, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Institute 193.

In these impossible settings, Watt creates fantastical scenes populated by plants and animals. Like illustrations in fairy tales or fables, there are decorative, patterned frames that border each photograph, taken from elements in the composition or other photos. These, too, are symmetrical, and invite an immersion into the harmonies and broken symmetries of each photograph. In these works, Watt strikes a measured balance between the beauty of the natural world and imaginative fictions therein, creating worlds and stories anew.

from the exhibition text
Melissa Watt, Monkey in the Pawpaws, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Institute 193.

Symmetry Breaking, a solo exhibition by Melissa Watt, is on view at Institute 193 Lexington, Kentucky, through September 30.

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