Posted by: Andrea Hammer
Anne Patterson’s large-scale installations are a journey of discovery. Viewers’ experiences may change, depending on the point of entry or a particular day, when scent is added. Perceptions of her artwork may also vary when alone or with others.
The artist’s creations for orchestras, galleries and theaters, including set and costume design for The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, are often a response to music or nature. For example, a ribbon installation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music looked like light rather than fabric. During a freely offered critique of another project, Anne suggests that an installation for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was not as successful.
“Because of the way the ribbons read, you need monochromatic colors. It’s almost like a painting. If you put too many colors all over the place, it won’t look good,” she says. “There’s no sense of front and back. You lose a sense of depth, and it flattens the space out.”
At Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Anne knew that she wanted to create a piece referencing the height of this space. She spent a lot of time watching people entering the cathedral and looking up. As a result, Anne decided to use the ribbons to heighten the spiritual connection.
As an artist who is sensitive to responses, she sees colors and shapes when listening to music, a condition called synesthesia. She often experiences a linear quality, which appears in many of her installations including “Graced With Light” and “Pathless Woods.” Curvilinear shapes form some of her sculptural pieces including “Shape of Music,” eliciting a sense of joy.
Anne says that she loves the process of collaboration, which results in better ideas than when working on her own. If she’s stuck, the artist talks ideas through with her assistants.
“Women usually have each others’ backs. They recognize how difficult it is to get where they’ve gotten,” she says. “There’s a kind of respect and holding out of hands to the other person.”
To juggle her various and often simultaneous projects including paintings, Anne has learned to grab free hours and schedule “sacred creative time” on Fridays. She is more comfortable now jumping into different mediums at the same time. The artist has also learned how to let things sit and percolate.
“I want to provide food for thought on how we journey through life–and where we stop, stumble or do an about-face,” she says.
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