The two "trapunto" works by Pacita Abad, Recluse and My Fear of Night Diving, are facets of her shifting moods as an artist. While both deeply contrast with her more familiarly exuberant colors and motifs, they remain consistent with her astute control over image and material.
Undoubtedly the hallmark of Abad's art is her self-created art medium she has called, trapunto. Derived from the Italian word trapungere, meaning to sew the process of doing the trapunto paintings is described by the artist thus: "I paint using either oil or acrylic on canvas, then stitch and collage it with a variety of materials. I follow by making two layers of canvas and fill cotton in between before joining the pieces with running stitches." But the more exciting stimulation of the pictorial surface happens with the encrustration of assorted objects, such as plastic buttons, beads, broken mirrors, sequins, cowrie shells, feathers, and tattered bits of embroidery. Again these objects are relics of objects drawn from the artist's travels.
"I am a sunshine person from the tropics and I am naturally drawn to warm and bright colors, although I have gradually grown to appreciate more subdued colors." - once declared the artist whose entire approach to life has been dominated by passionate relationship with color.
Moreover, the works are a manifestation of the artist's restlessly roving imagination. Indeed, as her spirit impels her to rove all over the world, Pacita Abad continues to yield visual treasures from the depths of her imaginings.
Text by Cid Reyes for the Lopez Museum and Library's Exhibition, "Pacita Abad: Unfurled."