In Stitches: The Artwork of Samantha Pace

Like postcards from a different world, these intimate abstracts speak their own sweet language of softness and texture. The small threaded dashes, seemingly so many grains of rice, cartwheel across the fabric in rolling tributaries of vibrant color and offer notions of their original imagery to the careful observer saying, “we were once a tree, once fireworks…”

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These pieces are based on principles of abstraction. As a child, artist Samantha Pace was always fascinated with the abstracting blur and color of Impressionism more than the actual subject of those paintings. Her grandfather, a fellow artist, regularly proclaimed the Impressesionists to be the artists who really changed art. Following up on that legacy, Pace takes an original moment, existing in life, and time, and space, and filters it first through photography, then through a photo-transfer process that seeps it only somewhat faithfully into a cotton cloth, and finally, she realizes it as a purposeful, embroidered rendering.

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Heading into the long, hot, stifling summer, it’s nice to approach a show that has an inherent levity. There’s a joyousness in the staccato, energetic sprawl of the dashes, (much as in Impressionism) and the visual crawl afforded by the dimensional quality of the embroidery thread makes these works a wonderland for lovers of all things tactile. Paces derives her title from a  Monet quote she often cites, “For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value”.  These bits of atmosphere and environment are all just color and movement of line; it is what she attempts to capture in the original photograph and convey in the final stitching.

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Of color, she says: “I am very inspired by color and it is what lies behind my work. Color is caused by the ghostly formation of the light discharged, passed on and reflected by objects. Color can change moods, stimulate headaches, make one hungry, annoyed and at the same time brighten ones day or make ones day completely gloomy. Color is around us every second of every day yet most people do not take the time to appreciate it. I have always been affected by visible color in art works and objects which surround me everyday, it is what draws me in and keeps me creating my own work.”

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This is the last weekend to see this rare process in person, and if you enjoy viewing art in crowds (all the better to converse about the art!), then tonight’s your night. Practical Art is hosting our Charity Pie Night benefiting this month’s feature charity, Local First Arizona. Besides art, pie, and bevvies, there’s also a raffle! So come on down!

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