Patricia Dunn’s Statement
Place, ah Place, has figured in my artistic expression since the beginning. Yet then I didn’t say place. I just experienced the environment, especially on my morning walks/cross country skiing with my dog. So I return in memory to a bitter cold morning, skiing in fog in Arapahoe National Forest, the backyard of our home in Gilpin County, Colorado. My companion, Whimple, a Norwegian Elkhound, accompanied me. We were shrouded in tones of gray, her grays/black coat was fringed in ice. Even in the cold, for the exercize, she was panting. There, there was her tongue…a vivid pink, floating, all else muted in the fog of gray! Here I present “Pink”, 1996. Perhaps, for the first time, in the creation of that tapestry, I was interpreting place with form, color, playing with scale.
Twenty years later I understand differently my fascination with place. It is not a mystery that art expressing place engages me and that I have read much that others write about their experience. “Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the different quality that comes from staying in one place…Without dramatic changes in scenery it can seem at first that nothing is happening…the more closely we pay attention, the deeper and richer the layers of experience we discover.” (John Luther Adams). Since 1998, I have lived in the city of Zacatecas, Mexico. My morning walks, accompanied by my dog, Mina, carry me a short distance to the edge of the city, across a highway onto Cerro del Grillo (Mountain of Crickets). It is high altitude, semi-arid terrain – rocks, outcroppings, bushes, cactus, eucalyptus trees, various grasses and flowering plants. Sky is a profound presence in Zacatecas (Colorado, too). I carry a camera and take dated snapshots of intimate places that whisper, speak or shout to me in a moment. Later a snapshot will carry me into a memory of being there. “Where does sky begin?” is inspired by the descent along one side of a ravine and up the other. I used a collage of snapshots. “Place of Meeting of Sky and Earth” – a wind and rain storm tore strips of bark from a eucalyptus tree. The elegant strips, shades of red and orange, laid on an outcropping whose wet surface glowed. The opportunity presents itself to me to interpret where sky and earth meet and answering the question: where does sky begin? I dye the silk and wool threads, weaving them on linen warp, wanting to express the shapes and hues that ‘narrate’ an essence of a place on the Cerro. I do believe that there is infinite inspiration there, on Mountain, to interpret answers for a long time.
Patricia Dunn’s Biography
Threads! All around — Grandmothers, mother, aunts, friends, neighbors knitting and sewing…a distinct memory of working looms seen on a class field trip to the Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, NY…later, visits to Navajo and Rio Grande weavers in New Mexico…my husband’s love for Navajo rugs with two in our home…knitting…curiosity about spinning…my parents gifted me a Louet spinning wheel…spinning lessons and membership in the Handweavers’ Guild of Boulder, CO, about an hour’s drive from my mountain home…taking advantage of many workshops like dyeing, color theory, design, and weaving, notably from Peter Collingwood. Enchanted and intimidated by the work of a tapestry artist there…not me…too slow…spinning, dyeing handspun, designing and knitting sweaters…art classes at a nearby community college and suddenly I wanted to ‘paint’ with my dyed yarns…weaving with more than one color in a shed…discontinuous weft. Tapestry!
My tapestries have been in many juried collective shows, both fiber and mixed media, in the United States and México. My work had a duo show in Denver and individual shows in Zacatecas and San Luis Potosí, MX. My tapestries and copper wire warp with silk thread weft sculptures are in private, public and commercial collections and spaces. I grew up on a dairy farm in New York State, attended college at SUNY Plattsburgh and University of Colorado. I married and we raised our children in Gilpin County, Colorado. My husband and I make our home in Zacatecas, MX, where we have lived since 1998. And yes, here is a region rich in Saltillo style rug and tapestry weaving.