Patti Emmerson is bursting with energy as she invites me into her home. She speaks with her hands and greets me with a smile on her face which truly sets the tone as I enter the small room that acts as her studio. The floors are splattered with paint and the walls are covered with Patti’s art.
Some of the pieces filling the room look almost too big to have possibly been created there. Patti explains that she works on the floor and takes up the whole room with her process. As a physical person she moves with her art and moves to music as she creates. She starts each day by cranking up her stereo and allowing herself to get into the physicality of her work.
As we continue talking I look around and realize that there is something missing from this art studio – there are no brushes. Patti laughs as she tells me that she uses anything and everything, except brushes, to move her paint. She creates her abstract scenes with a myriad of painters tools but doesn’t feel the brush can do exactly what she wants in this body of work.
As I look around the art itself leaves me staggered in the doorway. Though the pieces are still in progress they are already complex with strong texture and movement jumping off each canvas. Beside each piece sits a small, polaroid sized photograph of a scene. Patti uses these photos, most taken by the artist herself, as a base for a new painting.
The photos, in contrast with the abstracted paintings, give the viewer a timeline of the artist’s process and her more recent experiences. The collection of photographs were taken in a combination of Fernie, BC; Patti’s home for the past twenty years and in Kingston, ON; where Patti now resides.
My viewing of the body of work leaves me feeling refreshed and excited. Patti’s energy is evident in each piece. From wall to wall I am taken on an adventure down unreal streets, up abstracted mountains, and through obscure forests.
Standing and looking between a photographic scene of reality and a canvas bursting with incomprehensible colour and texture I find myself catching a brief glimpse into the mind of Patti Emmerson.
Written by Aviva Jacob