Art making and the unconscious parts of our minds: An interview with artist Pat Paxson

Our first annual associate member exhibition titled "Recreating Nature" is on view through August 26, 2018 and features work by 13 artists. The exhibition was curated by core member Gin Stone and refers to an artist's interpretation of the outside world... Every artist sees their surroundings with a unique set of eyes, and today associate member Pat Paxson shares her perspective on life, art making, and the creative process.


 Pat Paxson,  Singing In The Undergrowth - AZ , 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 84 (diptych)   Singing In The Undergrowth - AZ:  A collection of figures connected within a maze of lines–the blue color sings out, the figures are intertwined, loosely evoked and enclosed within the 'song'.

Pat Paxson, Singing In The Undergrowth - AZ, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 84 (diptych)

Singing In The Undergrowth - AZ: A collection of figures connected within a maze of lines–the blue color sings out, the figures are intertwined, loosely evoked and enclosed within the 'song'.

Have you always been an abstract painter?

I began as a ‘classical’ artist years ago, I moved into increasingly ‘abstract’ work, using lines and colors that gave hints of people in various situations, leaving viewers to come to their own conclusions.
 Pat Paxson,  Windows on the World - MA , 2014, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30,  SOLD    Windows on the World - MA:  Here is a person surrounded by a welter of windows or buildings? - both transparent and opaque... a metaphor for choices, for new learnings and experiences, for multiple life happenings. Is the person at the mercy of these multiple happenings, a dreamer, without control... or an observer, or even a facilitator? 

Pat Paxson, Windows on the World - MA, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30, SOLD

Windows on the World - MA: Here is a person surrounded by a welter of windows or buildings? - both transparent and opaque... a metaphor for choices, for new learnings and experiences, for multiple life happenings. Is the person at the mercy of these multiple happenings, a dreamer, without control... or an observer, or even a facilitator? 

Can you talk to us about your strong use of line and color?

For years, my interests in people and psychology have been reflected in my painting practice – as the ‘energies’ of dreams, personal interactions and personal space are reflected in paintings that give hints of these matters by way of the energies of lines and colors in various ways.
 Pat Paxson,  Outer Space from Inner Windows , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30   Outer Space from Inner Windows:  Peering into distant parts unknown...

Pat Paxson, Outer Space from Inner Windows, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 30

Outer Space from Inner Windows: Peering into distant parts unknown...

Your work is usually titled with a location at the end. Can you tell us this significance?

After completing my MA from Swarthmore College in PA, I moved to Switzerland and then to England. My husband and I lived in London for about 40 years, and I received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in art  (Goldsmiths College, University of London for the latter). I love London – galleries and art museums , etc – but about 10 years ago we returned to the US – to our families and to our country.
In any case we keep traveling. My husband, Dean, is still a Professor at the University of Manchester, traveling back and forth regularly. He is also still a (world class) triathlete, which means training winters in AZ. However, for the hot AZ summers we stay in MA to be closer to the daughters and grandchildren. I have a studio in each state… which leads to its own set of perennial challenges… where are which paintings when I need them somewhere else?
 Pat Paxson,  Shapes and Shadows , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40   Shapes and Shadows:  Energetic and color-full interactions... with a few shadows...

Pat Paxson, Shapes and Shadows, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40

Shapes and Shadows: Energetic and color-full interactions... with a few shadows...

Besides your painting practice, what else influences you creatively?

I also play the cello – sometimes it is difficult to keep up, but I do love it. My husband and I are both classical music listeners.
After a busy year and a half of having had the fun (and work) of 2 solo art shows and numerous group shows, I am, for time, now changing my emphasis -- writing about making and viewing art.
Some years ago I wrote a (similar) book, but I realized it was too heavy on theory and that my main interest and ideas had become obscured. I’m now re-writing it... which turns out to be more of a challenge than I had planned. The new version is shorter and more succinct, and (I hope) is also making clearer the underlying thoughts and ideas. It is about both making and viewing art, dealing with the relationship between art making and unconscious parts of our minds… thereby exploring the idea of intuition and how it might be of interest. I’m aiming it at students at art schools, indeed all artists, but as well to people who might want to know more about viewing as well as making art.
 Pat Paxson,  Hurricane Force Results , 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36   Hurricane Force Results  is on view at Fountain Street gallery, August 2018 in the exhibit "Recreating Nature."

Pat Paxson, Hurricane Force Results, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36

Hurricane Force Results is on view at Fountain Street gallery, August 2018 in the exhibit "Recreating Nature."

How do you see your work moving forward?

At present, I am very interested in the title of the Associate Member show, ‘Recreating Nature’ - as being a whole new focus for me. The new work has something to do with the ‘energies’ of nature, related to my interest in ‘energies’ of people… and it is also resulting in a further leaning into the abstract. Great fun–as I paint my way into my 80's!
I’ve loved working on the pictures for the show and have several related pieces underway, as well as two other pieces going into a show a titled "Daydreaming" in Florida this fall at the Coral Springs Museum of Art from September 22–November 17, 2018. 

 

Purchase Pat Paxson's work by contacting us directly at director@fsfaboston.com.