The Way Great Ladies, 2016
Raw organic pigments and watercolor on paper
11.75" x 9.75"
"A friend went to Morocco and bought me unmarked vials of raw organic pigments. The names she remembered intrigued me: lapis, turmeric, certain flowers, crushed snails, saffron, cobalt. They brought to mind a preciousness I felt lacking, in substance and in material. I played scientist - painstakingly experimenting with each pigment to find the proper binder to create stable watercolors. Still, I sometimes I wet my paper and brushed the powered pigment straight onto the surface. The normal push and pull between control and mayhem, common in wet-on-wet technique, became magnified. The pigments seemed to shoot through the water and over the page as the water destroyed the rigidity of the paper, modifying and destabilizing any boundary it encountered. The result was lusciously unpredictable. As I maneuver these pools of pigment and water into recognizable forms, I do so undoubtedly from the vantage of a woman. After all, I inhabit this body, in this climate. I am drawn to something uninhibited in certain images of intimacy, sex, fetishism, devastation, medical imagery and joy. In each I find a familiar flicker of the struggle between control and mayhem. Usually it is not the actual "thing" that I am drawn to, but rather the effect produced. In turn, when I reproduce theses images, having always preferred psychological drama to the pictorial, I am more focused on the act of revealing than providing specific explanations. The outcome is a purposeful move from the specific to the general.
A selection of Erdrich's ongoing series of works on paper was featured in the group exhibition Have + Hold at Wasserman Projects in 2017.