Patricia Gillespie, DIY, Zza’s, March 20th. 2010

Studio Visit: Patricia Gillespie. 02-24-10. click on each image to enlarge

For her upcoming show at Zza’s Wine Bar Gallery, Patricia Gillespie presented this to me as her artist’s statement: Nobody stands alone in this hectic, interconnected world. There are moments though when we can step past or through our clusters of connections and find a place where we focus on ourselves. These moments revitalize our indepedence and show us our creativity.

The first thing I thought of when I read her statement was that it sounded like something that Patricia herself would have carved out of wood with her little scroll saw and incorporated into one of her works. The text in her art walks a very thin line between informing and misdirecting the viewer as to the motivations behind the imagery.

Patricia is a good friend of mine and a pillar of our local Oakland art scene. You might remember her work hanging on the side of Esteban Sabar’s Gallery (when it existed) a couple of years back: half of a woman in bright pinks and oranges on her back as if the side of the building was a bed that she languished all over. Or maybe you saw her work when she had a show a couple of months ago at Mercury20 when she was briefly part of that collective.

Now Patricia brings her unique vision to Zza’s and who can wait! Her gender-politicizing paintings are strikingly hip and executed with an expert craftsman’s hand. As we were looking at this piece (wood on upholstered panel) she asked me to define saphrophyte. I could not, she said it is something that grows from death, like an orchid.

I like her work best when she hits the right tone of existential angst and meditative detatchment…when she and her characters hover in the right place between being engaged and not giving a shit. I mean this as a formal place, her style is consistantly meticulous, Patricia always gives a shit about all moments in her work.


Parusing her sketches, she showed me this drawing of a larger set piece she did for the Box Car Theater in San Francisco last year for the Vagina Monologues. The artists arrived on stage through the vagina. That is one big vagina.

Her is a piece that is just beginning next to a lipstick stained coffee mug, an image that is iconically associated in my mind with Patricia Gillespie.

This is a snap of her North Oakland living room that she shares with her son and her husband. You can’t quite see the bullet hole above that awesome mattress.

Patricia thinks that I can’t take a good picture of her to save my life. I think this one is great! she looks all serious…if you have met Patricia yet, you know she isn’t.

The show at Zza’s is going to be great. Patricia is going to do some flower installations and incorporate new surprises that are not posted in this studio visit. I hope you join us.
Patricia Gillespie at Zza’s. March 20th. 550 Grand Ave. Oakand, CA. 6pm-9pm.
Call me, Obi Kaufmann, 925-951-7501 for details or questions.
and click here for a link to the studio visit I had with her next year.
Stay tuned to the blog for new information about her show next month.
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