HARTFORD — The “Pattern Play” exhibition debuts at Trinity College, with an artists’ reception on Oct. 17
Pattern Play is an exhibition that will feature artwork — including paintings and sculptural ceramics — by four artists whose work shares an interest in systematic patterns ranging from textiles to tattoos to create complex compositions. The work by artists Cat Balco, Donnabelle Casis, Francis O’Shea, and Adero Willard are influenced by cultural symbolism, personal and familial history, and natural or built environments. The exhibit opening includes a reception with the artists. This event is free and open to the public.
The opening reception takes place at Widener Gallery, Austin Arts Center, Trinity College, 300 Summit Street, Hartford, on Thursday, October 17, from 4-6 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday — Saturday, 1:00 p.m. — 6:00 p.m., Closed Sundays. The gallery will be closed Nov. 26 — Dec. 1. The exhibit runs through Dec. 7.
Cat Balco is an artist, writer, and educator who has shown her paintings, murals, and collaborative projects widely; recent and upcoming venues include Rick Wester Fine Art, New York; Pulse Art Fair, Miami; John Molloy Gallery, New York; and Real Art Ways, Hartford. Balco’s approach to painting is bold and energetic. Her recent large-scale work resembles sun or star forms. While painting, she often rotates her work, allowing the paint drips to move in various directions that reinforce her radial motifs. This physical act is also deeply connected to her personal history. As she turns her paintings to rework them, she has said that she thinks of her ancestors who were European immigrant factory workers. For Balco, the act of turning recalls “the repetitive turnings and other simple movements characteristic of manual labor.”
Donnabelle Casis is a Filipina-American artist living and working in Florence, Mass. Through the use of patterns and geometry, Casis fuses disparate iconographic sources into unified compositions, in what she terms “an analog of cultural hybridity.” She brings into play various sources such as trajes de luces (suits of light) or bullfighting costume colors and embellishments that have deep ties to familial history and status, Filipino tribal tattoos and textiles, and images mined from facial recognition technology that maps physical characteristics. The juxtaposition of these images creates a complex visual language through which Casis explores ritual, cultural, and personal identity.
Francis O’Shea has “an enduring interest in patterns, edges, the intersection of forms with space.” On view in Widener Gallery are paintings from his “Mimbres” series that reflect this interest. Drawn from imagery that includes typography, quilts, geometry, wallpaper, pottery, and fabrics, O’Shea has developed codes that serve as a personal classification system for making work. A central strategy of this system is to combine various typefaces and patterns to address formal and narrative issues. O’Shea was born and lives in New York.
Adero Willard lives and works in western Massachusetts. Willard has said that, “A passion for color and pattern is what fuels my work as an artist. A love of clay grounds me in my work as a potter.” Willard fosters the commitment to the art of the handmade, which she believes is a duty “incumbent on a ceramic artist.” Her work combines the traditions of functional pottery, vessel and sculptural forms, with elaborately intricate decorative surfaces. Her African American, Native American, and European ancestry informs her work and provides her with endless possibilities to express concepts of identity, history, materiality, and design in her ceramic objects.
For more information, call 860-297-2199 or 860-297-5232.