Fly Like a Spaceship to the Sky: Works by Pat Aveni
Self-described abstract expressionist Pat Aveni is well versed in the history of modernism. With references to Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Salvador Dali reappearing throughout her work, Aveni has spent the last 22 years developing her own palette of symbols and a use of color that is vividly expressive.
A consumer of the mental health system, Aveni talks openly about the role that the arts have played in her own wellness. First introduced to painting while hospitalized, her visual artwork has helped her navigate a path of healing from an abusive past, and to process the vivid nightmares that have plagued her sleep since 9/11. Her art practice also sustains her faith in herself: "I was ready to crack up at times, but the art kept the glue together. It's still keeping me going."
Aveni is attracted to an array of symbols that recur in her work: a Southwestern landscape, an ovoid "gay baby" with a heart, ladders pointing towards the heavens, stars. Intricate spaces are conveyed with primary color choices both ebullient and pained. Ordinary objects-a computer mouse or a woman's shoe-are transformed into vivid symbols conveying the artist's interior emotional landscape, her struggle, her aspirations, and her deeply help optimism.
Image credit: Pat Aveni, Roadrunner (detail), colored pencil and acrylic paintfrom the series Schools for the Colored, 2008/2011