Totem: The Plant Princess

by Joan Waters


Peoria, Arizona


April 2020


IN FLUX Cycle 9 recipient Joan Waters created the sculpture totem: The Plant Princess and it is currently installed. This sculpture beckons at the entrance of the Sunrise Mountain Library and will be on display through Spring 2021. Watch a video of artist Joan Waters about this sculpture.

Joan Waters earned her BFA from The Maryland Institute, College of Art, where she studied African art with Prof. James E. Lewis. She is originally from England, and grew up on the East coast of the U.S. In her childhood she travelled to the Caribbean many times with her family, where she developed the love of saturated tropical colors which are seen in her art. These travels exposed her to foreign cultures, and helped her cultivate the habit of looking at the world from different perspectives. This is reflected in her art in the use positive/negative shapes which play with shifting figure/ground relationships.

Waters’ paintings and metal sculptures suggest the energies and forms of nature without directly depicting natural scenes. By concentrating her will and energy into the materials, the work attains a visceral power and vibration of its own.

In 1989, Ms. Waters moved to Phoenix, Arizona where the abundance of light and feeling of spaciousness were integrated into her large abstract acrylic paintings. At age 34, breast cancer surgery and six months of chemotherapy forced Ms. Waters to take time off in order to get well; during this period of introspection, a re-examination of priorities led to her decision to commit more time to painting and drawing, and to exhibit her work more often. A welding class at Mesa Community College introduced Waters to the challenges of working in steel.

Ms. Waters exhibits her work extensively in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and on the East Coast, and her work is in numerous public and private collections. Recent commissions include public art for City of Chandler, City of Phoenix, Mesa Permanent Sculpture Collection, Mesa Community College, Copper Sun Child Center and Burton Barr Central Library. Waters was guest curator of the Herberger Theater Gallery for the 2007 season. The artist welcomes commissions and enjoys the synergy of the collaborative process.