Walton Arts Center is proud to host the visual arts exhibition titled the Fabric of Nature by Andrea Packard, noted artist and Consulting Curator for the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at Walton Arts Center since 2010.

The exhibition will be on display from Saturday, Feb. 4 through Monday, April 24 in Joy Pratt Markham Gallery. Viewing hours are noon to 2 pm daily and one hour prior to most performances. A reception celebrating the opening of Andrea Packard’s Fabric of Nature, will take place Saturday, Feb. 4 from 5-7 pm. The reception is open to the public and will be held in JPM Gallery.

Andrea Packard's mixed media works take inspiration from wooded landscapes, family relationships and varied artistic traditions ranging from Cezanne and Matisse to contemporary artists such as the Gee's Bend quilters. Trained as a painter, printmaker and sculptor, Packard integrates diverse materials such as woodcut prints and scraps of fabric. Her richly textured and relief-like surfaces echo the complexity of nature and community. Packard says, “In a world dominated by mass-produced imagery, I am fascinated by art that is multi-layered and complex.”

In her final season as Consulting Curator, Packard has been instrumental in curating exhibitions that have featured work by internationally known artists, from José Bedia to Emmett Gowin, Orit Hofshi, Lois Dodd and Tom Uttech.

Joy Pratt Markham Gallery Hours:
Monday–Friday, Noon to 2pm
One hour prior to most performances
Gallery admission is FREE

Artist Statement:

Many of my paintings are inspired by the tangled growth and intimacy of the New England and Mid-Atlantic woods. My interiors, figure groups, or domestic scenes further explore the subjective, layered, and contradictory elements that shape relationships and identity. For the past 20 years, I have incorporated fabric into my collage art works in order to enhance compelling images, patterns and textures. As a devoted member of a quilting group for nearly 30 years, I have been fascinated with the way fabric implicitly represents the values and resourcefulness of communities. For example, I especially admire the expressive abstract quilts made by Gee’s Bend, Alabama artists such as Loretta Pettway. Growing up appreciating my great grandmother’s Victorian crazy quilt, I noticed how its irregular shapes echoed the patterns made by intersecting tree branches in the nearby woods. I am also inspired by repurposed materials, be they discarded woodcut prints, outgrown clothing, or handwoven scarves, and I pay attention to the way materials can convey specific cultural associations. Because we wear fabric every day, we have a visceral response to it and intuitively grasp whether it is machined or hand-made, frivolous or frugal, new or antique. Many of the materials I use were given to me by other artists, educators, close friends and family members. Synthesizing “high” and “low,” past and present, self with community, I hope to provide journeys of empathy, memory, and reconnection.
In a world dominated by mass-produced imagery, I am fascinated by art that is multi-layered and complex. The most inspiring art—and the aesthetic I aspire to—resists memorization and rewards extended study. I take a painterly approach to collage processes and search for the kind of harmony that can only be achieved through experiencing and working through disruption or dislocation. That process feels most true to lived experience and the malleability of perception. I am interested in capturing the appearance of nature, but I also want to explore landscape as an imaginative and emotional terrain—the two realities are inextricable, yet sometimes contradictory. To preserve nature, and the interior spaces they provide within, we must first visualize and affirm our empathy for the world. My art work is not about the destruction of the landscape so much as the beauty and diversity I want to preserve.
My images start with a compelling idea or gesture but they are not preconceived. I build up and remove layers of paint or collage over days, weeks, months, and even years. I work experimentally in order to discover unexpectedly evocative relationships and surfaces. Fragments of woodcuts, monoprints, drawings, and fabric often form the basis of new compositions. Increasingly, I have been painting on wood panels that I also carve into with woodcut tools, sometimes incorporating collaged elements. My initial ideas develop in both expected and unexpected ways until the composition expresses something of the beauty and dynamism of our hybrid world.
—Andrea Packard