It always helps to look a little closer.
|Get in there...|
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the opening reception of Dwelling Places, the Robin Maria Pedrero solo exhibition at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art.
I am familiar with Pedrero's work, and I was excited to see her first solo showing in a museum setting. I was prepared to write a review of the show, and I did take copious notes with my nose just inches from the canvases. As I worked my way through the crowd and the galleries, I noticed something very interesting.
Robin's style was changing before my eyes. It was so fascinating to see her newest pieces, some completed not long before the show, in juxtaposition to some of her earlier works.
|Cows in the Olive Grove|
Pedrero has been known for her ethereal paintings that are layered with transparent acrylic glazes over stylized silhouetted patterns and landscapes. Occasional charcoal lines sometimes added areas of mixed media detail, but the layered textures I had noticed were very thin and detail was minimal. The tooth of the canvas often showed through in areas of the composition while others received a thick application of paint, giving the pieces a variety in their surface textures.
The dream-like quality of her earlier palette seemed to be replaced with bold, heavily saturated color. Its application is almost buttery and smooth on the background layers now. In each new painting, there seems to be one or two small focal points that she enhances with detail. The textures of each new piece are thick and interesting throughout the composition, with areas of the foreground having palpable depth. It was very hard not to touch!
These newer pieces are certainly evolving into a different direction, and the artist is incorporating found materials and sensory objects as part of the installation. (Keep reading for an explanation from the artist.)
|Corvus Coffee Peace Meeting|
So it was at this point I couldn't keep taking notes, because I just needed to interview the artist to find out what was going on.
(I was excited, guys. Imagine you're a foodie, and one of your favorite recipes at a restaurant changes, but you don't dislike it, you eat it up and just want to know "Why?!" and "What is in this, now?!")
So I asked her. (Well, after waiting a bit. It was crowded, and she's a popular lady. She had to get back to me via email. Sidebar to anyone wanting to network with artists at an art show, let the artists talk to the gallerists, curators, and collectors. It's a big sale night, so unless you are purchasing artwork, try to follow up later. Robin was super nice and got back to me when she had some down time.)
Here ya go...
D. Renée Wilson: Woah, Nelly! This is really cool. It looks like your style is changing. What is going on with your paint application?!
Robin Maria Pedrero: This became part of my process as I like to experiment, and I began to push the paint around in a similar manner that I use in developing my soft pastel works. My publisher gets quite excited when I utilize texture in my work so I began adding fiber paste, molding paste and gels more often. You will notice that I still utilize a variety of textures and glazes in my acrylic pieces.
|Thursday's Crow Has Far to Go|
DRW: Why the attention to detailed but small focal points?
RMP: I like the variety of having dreamy, loose areas of a painting and areas that are more focused and up close. I never noticed that there were very “ small focal points”, just perhaps that I highlight some areas and give added details more so than to other areas. Some sort of favoritism!
I like to add little details hidden in to add curiosity.
DRW: Tell me about the sculptural pieces. Is this your first time working in 3D?
|Nest, Golden Path- piece of the Berlin Wall, Vessel|
RMP: Several years ago I created a large 5 foot tree using a support and pieces of my cut up clothing. These 3D works in Dwelling Places are my first vessels. I must say I am pretty excited about them.
DRW: Why did you choose the materials you did?
RMP: The materials were intuitive, and serendipitously we began to receive a newspaper that we had not ordered and my supplies arrived daily. I began with papier-mâché, and discovered that my process in building these 3D pieces carried some similarities with my painting process.
Although I had a vision for the first 2 pieces, the nest and the vessel, I allowed myself to adjust and build on my creativity. I focus a lot on connectivity. I knew I needed to create a sailboat. When I looked at the body of work I’d developed it seemed fitting that I would use coffee beans or grounds on the bowl vessel. I wanted these to be treasures. I have been keeping this little bag of money shredded by the federal reserve that of my children brought me from a field trip for years and this was the perfect use for some of it. Money in the vessel and in the nest! I had already begun the work of a nest with a single egg when the announcement that our first grandchild would be arriving in November. My life just kept becoming a part of these pieces. I also tried to finish a soapstone carving and a wood carving, yet they remained unfinished, due to an attack of the shingles during August. Thankfully my paintings were completed.
DRW: Oh, no! I'm glad you were able to get well and to prepare work in time for the show. Do you see yourself creating more sculpture in the future?
DRW: How has the painting style shift changed your process in the studio?
RMP: I think I will keep a combination of using textures and some glazes.
DRW: Is this a style you plan to stick with? What do you see coming next for you?
RMP: I joked at the exhibit.. black and white.
I feel something stirring inside. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s an odd excitement. A new chapter is unfolding and as soon as it reveals itself I’ll share.
DRW: That is exciting! And joking aside, I'd love to see the texture that would come from a forced B&W style. ;) Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Robin!
If you are in our area, stop by the LEMA to see Robin's solo exhibit. I don't have to tell you, but seeing art online is nothing like seeing an original painting in person. The carefully constructed surface textures, layering, and sculptural elements have to be seen up close.
The show will be up through October, 31. If you're not around, you can still follow Robin here online as her next chapter unfolds.
In Artwork & Play,