Patricia Iglesias | Muses of Now
For our forthcoming resort collection, we explored the power of color–specifically, how infusions of color in a neutral palette can elevate and transform. And if our pieces are the canvas, the women who wear them are the painting.
We've been captivated by Patricia Iglesias Peco and her paintings which are a dreamlike and poetic expression of the natural world, and a masterful display of the way that color interacts and transforms. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Patricia attended the Savannah College of Art & Design and the School of Visual Arts in New York City where she lived for 26 years until relocating to LA two months before the pandemic. It was during the pandemic that people connected, on a larger scale, with her work through a series of paintings inspired by her vividly imagined stories of animals who reclaimed their place in nature while we humans were “in cages.”
Here, we speak with Patricia about creative shifts, our relationship to place and art that inspires art.
How did your move to LA influence your work?
Any physical move will create change in general, and after living for most of my life in NY and in Buenos Aires, the radical shift in landscape was a big factor in dictating what happened in my work. I live very close to Huntington Gardens, and I would go on hikes there. I had never been exposed to so much nature before.
The pandemic forced all of us to be enclosed too; and I kept reading stories of animals reclaiming their space. I started painting all these stories and interactions I imagined were happening between them. The drawings were colorful and joyful, I suppose, and I think people really connected with that because we were all going through very dark and uncertain times.
What is your relationship to place?
I think that once you leave your country of origin and live for some time somewhere else there is the sense you don't really belong anywhere. When I went back to my country, it was no longer what I had left and neither was I; and in the country you adopted you will always be a foreigner. My work speaks a little about that sense of not fitting much of anywhere and feeling like an outsider and then creating your own little world.
How has your connection to color and material evolved over time?
This is a really complex question because even though I studied color theory, I think the use of color is often innate or intuitive. We all express through color, and I always look at people’s color choices because I find them inspiring and fascinating, especially those of other artists. Often, when I am about to start a painting, I do a color study which is basically a chart with colors I want to use, or colors that I don't often gravitate towards and that will push me further.
Materials are extremely important to me because they keep me engaged and I react in different ways when I paint on different surfaces. Linen, paper or wood board will force me to see things in a new way because the paint behaves differently on each surface.
Much of your work has been inspired by flowers. What does it mean to you to be in bloom? And, conversely, to wilt?
To me, to be in bloom is to be doing anything we love and that brings joy; there were moments in my life in which, because of personal circumstances, I was not able to paint and for me THAT was feeling wilted.
You’ve said that many of your collections begin with a literary reference. Cite a particularly influential one.
In this last body of work, I have been extremely influenced by the amazing and unfortunately not so well known Marosa di Giorgio. What captured me about her writing is the very visual way in which she would write; she basically painted with words and created a very visceral, ornate and fantastical landscape that felt like it directly spoke to me.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I was very lucky to have had an incredible mentor who taught me everything I know about what it is to be an artist. He was a swiss sculptor called Pablo Edelstein and I entered his Atelier in Argentina when I was 15 years old. He always encouraged me to do things with feeling. He never cared about finding success or showing his work. You can be shown or represented by a gallery, but that is circumstantial; for him the most important thing was to do good work.
As an artist, you will be alone most of the time in your studio–if you can't be true to what you do, there is nothing left at the end of the day.
In life or your practice, what are you drawn to right now?
To me it is about kindness; it's about being surrounded by caring people and being able to enjoy what I do.
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