Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pacita Abad: Biography


Pacita Abad (1946-2004) was born in Basco, Batanes, a small island in the northernmost part of the Philippines, between Luzon and Taiwan. Her more-than-thirty-year painting career began when she travelled to the United States to undertake graduate studies. She had over 40 solo exhibitions at museums and galleries in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. She also participated in more than 50 group and traveling exhibitions throughout the world. Abad’s work is now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries. Abad studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and The Art Students League in New York City. She lived on 5 different continents and working in more than 80 countries, including Guatemala, Mexico, India, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Indonesia. Her early paintings were primarily figurative socio-political works of people and primitive masks. Another series was large scale paintings of underwater scenes, tropical flowers and animal wildlife. Pacita’s most extensive body of work, however, is her vibrant, colorful abstract work - many very large scale canvases, but also a number of small collages - on a range of materials from canvas and paper to bark cloth, metal, ceramics and glass. Abad created over 5,000 artworks and painted a 55-meter long Alkaff Bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles. Abad developed a technique of trapunto painting (named after a quilting technique), which entailed stitching and stuffing her painted canvases to give them a three-dimensional, sculptural effect. She then began incorporating into the surface of her paintings materials such as traditional cloth, mirrors, beads, shells, plastic buttons and other objects.

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