Pat Pauly designs contemporary quilts with strong compositions coupled with modern interpretation while maintaining the integrity of the traditional quilt.
Pauly's use of a bold, but confident colour palette is strikingly made apparent in these pieces. It is not a particularly easy path to take and is often fraught with problems, as colours have to be guided so that a careful balance is achieved. This is made all the more complex by Pauly's extraordinarily broken and fragmented compositions. These compositions seem at times to be combinations of mini-compositional structures.
Water, Earth II for example, has five distinctive areas that could be classed as unique compositions that have been cleverly connected to each other in one piece, clearly opposing yet harmonising at the same time. However, Water, Earth IV is even more skilful, as the top part of the composition appears to have collided with the bottom half, the large textured and coloured leaf being used as the element to prise apart a route for the higher compositional segment into that of the lower.
Pauly is well aware of the tension that can be found in the natural world. That some of her compositions in this series seem, at least at first viewing, to be concerned with the structures and textures of the natural world is misleading, as a closer inspection of the work soon makes you aware.
Pauly's work goes much deeper than the surface of nature that we are all generally aware of. She is much more concerned with that of the tension, even fractured forces, and elements that lie deeply hidden underneath the coloured and textured surface of the natural world. The juxtaposition of the strata of colour and texture that she is able to build up in some segments of the composition, are seemingly placed next to areas that show a much more distressed, strained and even forcibly broken natural strata, which shows a very high level of compositional awareness.
Pauly achieves much more than an interesting arrangement of colour and texture with the Water, Earth series. She is able, through a textile format, to show us the stresses and strains that are part of the natural world. Through her imaginative use of fabric she can offer us a glimpse of the juxtaposition of tension and harmony that is part and parcel of the natural world that we are not always aware of, though should be.
Pauly is not only a textile artist and exhibition designer, she also finds time to lecture widely and run a number of workshops concerning various aspects of textile art. Her work has been seen extensively across the US since the 1980s. She has a number of exhibitions lined up for 2010. All of this and more can be found at her comprehensive website.
This article was written by Valley Fiber Life contributor, John Hopper.
The images have been used with permission of the artist, and may not be copied or used without artist permission.
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