Pattern language

Pattern language
Collage and acrylic on canvas. 24 x 18″. 2019.

When I first began experimenting with layering paper on to my canvases, I happened to have some sewing patterns lying around from a recent project. In need of readily available paper, and no longer needing the patterns, they seemed to fit the bill. I did not expect this experiment to lead to the discovery of one of my favorite foundation materials for collage — this painting is the third “pattern piece” I’ve produced over the last couple years. Something about the slightly waxy tissue paper upon which most modern patterns are printed allows the material to buckle and fold beneath the moisture of the glue and paint, producing a texture that I find incredibly satisfying.

As someone who enjoys sewing every now and again, and as an admitted nerd, I thought it was highly appropriate to give each of my pattern-inspired works a “punny” name. This one, Pattern language, refers to a term often used in techie circles to describe a collection of inter-related best practices, while also giving a nod to the prominent sewing-specific glossary in the image’s lower right corner. The other images in this series are titled Dark patterns (a term for interfaces that purposefully try to lure or trick users into acting against their best interests) and I see a pattern (no techno-nerdery there, just a play on words). I’d like to create more works in this same vein, but I’ll need to come up with more “pattern” puns first!

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