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Patterns Gallery | Lovejoy Gallery

Layers of Organic and Human Created Patterns

My process is simultaneously intuitive, and calculated, it is an attempt to make conscious the process of organic creation. My work gives me a direct experience of nature through an examination of the raw material and the historical catalog of human observation of nature, which is still simply nature. We don’t just observe natural patterns, we think with them.

I began this series as a deeper exploration of a previous series in which I was exploring my basic gestural shapes. I had discovered how these shapes replicated the patterns of the natural world. Once I identified these shapes as my signature gestures, I began to see them everywhere. I noticed them in the stylized patterns of all human pattern designs, from textiles to wood carving.

In this series I am playing with the ways that the organic and the human made compliment and mirror each other. I also am playing with a conversation about deconstruction, looking at the process of art creation with finished and unfinished form and line. The layering of patterns and forms develop into expressive pieces that comment on the relationship between nature and culture. These pieces are meditations of how humans both perceive and are a part of the primary physics that make up the natural world.

The initial forms are conceived through automatic drawing and painting. These first gestures are purely expressive and emotional. I work using techniques described by mid 20th century abstract expressionists. I then begin a layer of drawing, pulling out the patterns and gestures that I find most appealing. As I play with the edges and shapes of the images I start to develop a story about what the patterns represent, what sort of texture and material equates to the mood and feeling of the shapes. The narrative that emerges in my play informs a selection of detailed stylized patterns taken from historically researched human designs; architecture, furniture inlay, quilts, textiles, embroidery. I then draw these patterns into the image, purposely showing my own hand in the process, as a comment on both imitation and organic process.

My works comment on the way humans develop patterns depicting nature, using the same structural imperatives from which nature organically builds. We see, and intellect, with the same structural building blocks that make-up the natural world we attempt to capture in our designs. Our cells, neurons, and organic processes are shaped in the same landscapes as the physical landscapes around us. Thus, we pick out and replicate over-and-over a set of structures and processes, we form into these repeated shapes.

Theodore Roszak writes in The Voice of the Earth “It may be that the deep systems of nature, from which our psyche, our culture, and science itself ultimately derive, are the new language through which the Earth once again finds its voice” (18). Our human creative process is one of those “deep systems of nature.”

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Painting Journal

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”

Martha Graham
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