PLATSBURGH – Artist Patricia Downs presented three solo exhibitions in 2021 at Chapter One Coffee and Tea, the Strand Center for the Arts and City Well.
Three of his works, âUlcerative Geodesâ, âMidnightâ and âFluctuating Bluesâ can be seen through December 31 at the annual Membership Exhibition during the holidays in the Strand Center Gallery, 23 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh.
The exhibition presents painting, drawing, photography, jewelry, sculpture, fiber, ceramics, stained glass, pearl weaving, printmaking, mixed media and carpentry.
Featured artists include Downs, Herb Carpenter, John Cullen, Ann Pember, Suzanne Doin, Sandy Fox, Judy Guglielmo, Marilyn Kretser, Douglas Wooser, Wind Sop, Ed Rice, Kim Berg, William Leege, Jennifer L. Ashline, Anne Bailey, Charlene Newman, Darlene Cullen, Bill Crosby, Ian Burcroff, Dick Brogowski, Jim Kobak, Renee Gifford, Ron Nolland, Bob Lange, Michael LaFontaine, Emily Latour, Angela Nephew and Eric Timmerman.
For “Ulcerative Geode” Downs was creative in a deep valley, body and mind.
âI felt like I didn’t have any inspiration, motivation or energy to create,â she said.
âI didn’t feel good physically either. I felt like my insides were betraying me. The spark came from the curiosity to experiment with materials and processes.
His idea was born out of a question of simulation.
“What if I started this piece by creating a grid-like frame like a skeleton for the wire piece?” ” she said.
“So I made this skeleton supporting the sculptural structure of the interior and then I woven strips of fabric between the bars of the grid.”
When the grid was completely covered, Downs crocheted protruding strips of fabric.
âThen I kind of pushed, pulled, twisted, and sculpted the whole piece into a shape that I felt was right,â she said.
“It’s like the big red with these weird protruding shapes sticking out of it.”
“Midnight” was originally inspired by the fabric.
âI loved this deep dark blue of the material,â she said.
âI used the wire frame technique and woven strips of this dark blue fabric between the bars of the grid. Then I warped the yarn underneath to create the shape I wanted and crochet protrusions emerging from it in that same dark blue material. This was inspired primarily by the color, texture and feel of the material itself.
Once again, Downs took inspiration from the fabric and its emotional state in making it.
âI felt like my mood was fluctuating from very good to very weak, but also very anxious,â she said.
âI wanted to describe this in some form. So I started with a piece of driftwood for a more natural look. Then I crocheted it with blue zigzag striped cotton fabric.
âThen I used other colors of blue fabric stripes to crochet curved zigzag lines the entire length of the piece that overlapped. So the overall effect was this kind of chaotic, zigzag overlapping streak. on a blue field. “
A native of Plattsburgh, Downs has loved creating his entire life, according to a press release from Strand.
As far back as she can remember, she rummaged in the kitchen art cabinet and found materials that she could turn into art projects.
But she was never content to draw and paint. She wanted to “do things”.
In high school, she reconnected with her love of artistic creation and decided to create a portfolio to apply to art school, eventually settling in the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
While there, Downs created a body of work based on the assigned tasks, but it wasn’t until she took her first abstract sculpture class that she became obsessed.
From fall 2017 to spring 2019, she devoted all her energy to creating sculptures, collages and multimedia works.
His university experience culminated in his graduation thesis project, a massive fiber sculpture, titled “Paralyzed in Deep Darkness”.
ARTIST AT WORK
Downs lives and works here where she builds a substantial body of work in mixed media, recycled and mixed fibers.
Currently, she creates sculptural wall hangings through processes such as crochet, weaving, knotting and sewing.
This fall, she taught a gentle sculpture class at The Strand.
In his artist statement, Downs writes:
“I combine processes often seen as ‘domestic’ or ‘feminine’ work with the creation of contemporary art. I combine the ideas of craftsmanship, skill, utilitarian process and abstract art.
âI actively try to reduce the stigma surrounding crafting processes by showing what can be done with exploring and experimenting with crafting methods and mediums.
“I don’t quilt or crochet a pot holder, but I respect traditions while elevating the process to fine art.”
“Between Layers and Stitches” was the title of his solo exhibition of fiber art at The Strand.
âI try to use mostly 100% recycled materials,â Downs said.
âIt’s a big thing for me. I’m trying to create a nice zero waste studio practice. I save all my scraps of fabric from rooms and use them in other rooms.
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