Assailing the Senses: The Trapunto Art of Pacita Abad
All images are courtesy of Pacita Abad Art.
This article was published in Asian Art News Vol. 4 No. 2, March/ April 1994.
Acknowledgment goes to Ian Findlay-Brown for permitting this article to be re-published.
About Pacita Abad
Pacita Abad (1946-2004) was born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northernmost part of the Philippines, between Luzon and Taiwan. Her more-than-thirty-year painting career began when she journeyed to the United States to undertake graduate studies. After that trip, Pacita never stopped traveling or painting. She studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and The Art Students League in New York City, and then started to “paint the globe? living on 5 different continents and working in more than 80 countries. Pacita’s extensive travels to exotic destinations like Guatemala, Mexico, India, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Indonesia had a major impact on her life and art, and were the inspiration for many ideas, techniques and materials in her paintings.
Pacita’s painting is characterized by constant change, experimentation and development from the 1970’s, right up until her passing. Her early paintings were primarily figurative socio-political works of people and primitive masks. Another series was large scale paintings of underwater scenes, tropical flowers and animal wildlife. Pacita’s most extensive body of work, however, is her vibrantly, colorful abstract work - many very large scale canvases, but also a number of small collages - on a complete range of materials from canvas and paper to bark cloth, metal, ceramics and glass. A disciplined and prolific painter, Pacita created over 3,500 artworks and even painted a 55-meter long bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles.
Pacita had over 40 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. She also participated in more than 50 group and traveling exhibitions throughout the world. Pacita’s work is now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries.
About the author
Ian Findlay-Brown is the founding editor/publisher of the publications Asian Art News and World Sculpture News.