Patty Grazini: Forms of Devotion
Patty Grazini, from Seattle, presents several series of paper sculptures transporting the viewer to a fantastical and sometimes forgotten world. Her work intertwines intriguing and eccentric narratives from history with detail, depth and devotion. Grazini cuts and sculpts fine found and hand-dyed papers from Europe and Asia. Her most recent series is constructed with paper currency from all over the world to portray intricate scenes from nature.
This solo exhibition will feature over twenty works, including pieces from private collections and recent works. Also included is Grazini’s largest work to date, the popular paper sculpture titled Elizabeth Lyska, Giantess from BIMA’s Permanent Art Collection. BIMA is pleased to sponsor Grazini’s first solo art museum exhibition. Patty Grazini is represented by Curtis Steiner Gallery in Seattle.
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From the curator:
Patty Grazini is a self-taught sculptor devoted to the medium of paper. Her work is influenced by forgotten stories from the romantic ages, infused with the aesthetics of darkness and light. Grazini identifies as a craftsperson and researcher, and works from her studio in Seattle. Her work draws extensively from her experiences with textiles, fashion design, carpentry, and her travels in Europe and Asia.
Paper is often regarded as an ordinary material, yet it is transformed through Grazini’s meticulous manipulation. Grazini’s sculptures are inspired by the beauty and mystery of recapturing lost moments, constructed with ephemera—passed through various hands and contexts. For the past thirteen years, Grazini has devoted much of her work to multiple series of real histories—depicting characters whose stories have rung of plight and hardship. For example, she often memorializes life stories using a moody palette, layered in intricate detail—all with paper.
Forms of Devotion is Grazini’s first solo art museum exhibition. The exhibition title is drawn from the significance of Grazini’s commitment to her craft, to the stories held within each sculpture, and to herself as an artist.
Included is a large installation titled The Enchanters, created through numerous technical processes. The scale invites participants into a physical and spatial dialogue—her symbols of darkness and light evoke the tension and beauty intended in her work.
Grazini asks the viewer to linger and look a little closer…to explore past narratives, and to experience the myriad layers of life. She hopes to transport us to worlds lost through time. By entering other realms, we give new life to faded histories, and recast muted pasts into colorful fantasies.
Amy Sawyer, BIMA Assistant Curator
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ARTIST’S STATEMENT: PATTY GRAZINI
From an early age, I was fascinated by the interplay of color and patterns. Our responses to patterns help determine how we see the world and what we choose to notice. I began my career as an artist making wearable art, sewing three-dimensional forms that play on this interest. Now, my work is made entirely from paper. While some of the aesthetics have remained similar, this medium has allowed me to explore many ideas and themes on a deeper level.
In my artwork, I have attempted to transport the viewer to another time and place. I am inspired by the beauty and complexity of different historical periods. While constructing each piece I spend a lot of time imagining and creating a backstory that is rooted in historical research. When my work focuses on a particular time and place, I try to learn as much as possible about it. I read, go to museums, listen to podcasts, and watch videos—I immerse myself in anything that will evoke the mood and character of that specific era. For every hundred things I learn about each subject, perhaps only a single detail makes it into my artwork.
Travel has also been a constant influence on my work. In some ways, I would like each artwork to reproduce the experience of going on a small journey— either to someplace new and unfamiliar, or to somewhere known and recognizable but seen with fresh eyes. Paper is a terrific medium for this. I gather materials while traveling. I like thinking about how to reuse paper in completely different contexts, and also finding types of paper that reference back to specific moods I am trying to evoke. With each piece, I add layer upon layer of paper, creating depth and details for the viewer to explore. I prefer shadowy color palettes—they have more subtle surprises.
In the future, I intend to explore the limitless bounds of these themes in my work, using paper as my expression. I have started dying paper with natural dyes as well, which I am eager to incorporate into my work.