Artist Interview: Libby Patterson
Where do I get my inspiration from?
From paint itself and clay and plaster. I love pushing the media around and seeing what happens.
The energy of nature inspires me – the beauty of light and darkness, the cycles, the ferocity and how nature's energy reflects man's moods. Space – the interstices between small things as well as the wider celestial spatial elements engage me. And the sea, the ocean and flowing water has always featured in my most vivid dreams. Biology, how specific flora and fauna grows. Diatoms. The mystery of life.
Who is my favourite artist?
Constantin Brancusi. Paul Cezanne. Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti.
So many extraordinary artists from Giotto to Anthony Gormley and recently discovered Francisco Remiseiros that it's hard to pin down a favourite. I also feel grounded with Rita Angus and Colin McCahon and Chester Nealie.
I hate to leave out Lin Onus, an Aboriginal artist whose life and art I have studied and loved
What artists’ movement do I feel most inspired by?
About my art. How it has evolved?
From seeking the blue chalk in the primers to admiring the sole senior high school girl who did 7th form art, I have always wanted to be absorbed in art.
As a child I was fortunate to have water colour lessons for some years. This sticks with me.
My art school training evolved in to sculpture with Tom Taylor. Rudi Gopas advised me to major in painting because “I was a girl” I still love both painting and sculpture. I took up ceramics in my Training College year, followed by Earthenware in Dunedin; Oil fired stoneware in Titirangi and Wood Fired stoneware in Waimauku, but always drawing and painting as well. I don't see much difference between mixed media drawing and painting.
I have been interested in Maori and Polynesian Art and many ethnic arts for many years.
Life Drawing, Printing, Ceramics, Cultural Studies, Landscape Painting and Art History are the topics that I have practised over the years and I remain committed to. I think art constantly. When I look at the light falling over a landscape I think of how to layer up the pastel or paint.
What do I do with my drawings and paintings?
Store them in the “attic”
Do I get my hands dirty?
If I'm painting with water it's very important to keep water pots fresh and brushes clean. I'm not concerned about clean hands or clothes.
Exhibitions that have impressed me:
My Country “Black Australia” at The Auckland Art Gallery, impressed me for the socio/political messages conveyed through a wide range of styles and techniques. When you have time to look and absorb things you learn and remember a lot. The background information was well presented. The painted wooden kuri and the slow moving videos were the highlights for me.
What makes Good Art?
Ha! “ I know what I like!”. It's indefinable. I guess if it makes a hit with someone it's good for them
The question is who is the judge of good art? You, me or the market? A child's art can be so expressive. Naive art too. So much incredibly “good” art all through the ages. Elizabeth Frink's “Big Head” at the Auckland Art Gallery makes me cry and so did El Greco's “Saint John the Baptist” and also a Chagall painting of a figure riding a rooster. When something indefinable connects with a viewer it must be good art. But on a less spiritual plane there are other levels of appreciating the arts.
What do I like about the KACI?
The opportunity to exhibit. The friendships. The shared classes in Life Drawing. The facilities such as the printing studio and kiln. The potential for the centre itself to become a community destination. The haven for Kumeu Children’s Art Club. The physical warmth in the winter.
The changes I would like to see happen at the Art Centre are what we would all like:
Expanded areas for exhibitions, workshops and dedicated areas. Outdoor paving and landscaping. Upgraded existing amenity.
I would love to see the whole reserve designed, and planted as a township central space where the Art Centre featured as a destination.