Pacita Abad

Bio

Born in Batanes, Philippines in 1946, Pacita Abad was the daughter of a congressman, who had hoped that she would traverse a similar political path. But the course of Abad’s life changed after a year of travelling in 1973 to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She decided to take up painting. Abad later married a developmental economist, Jack Garrity, whose work predisposed them to travel to developing countries. Her experiences in each place informed her subject matter from the beginning; traditional art practices like ink-brush painting in Korea, paint brushing on silk in the Dominican Republic, batik painting in Indonesia, tie-dye in Africa, macramé in Papua New Guinea, were techniques she introduced either singly or several in one art work. In the late seventies and early eighties Abad introduced a quilting method, trapunto, onto her canvasses, which were then layered with objects on top of her quilted material: stones, sequins, glass, buttons, shells, mirrors, printed textile. She referred to this technique, and the process of layering, stuffing, stitching and the collaging of objects on painted canvas, as trapunto painting.

Characterised by vibrant colour and accumulated material, these large scale trapunto paintings traverse a diversity of subject matter: from tribal masks and social realist tableaus depicting the individuals and communities that Abad encountered throughout her travels, to lush and intricately constructed underwater compositions and abstractions. She lived and travelled in a bewildering amount of countries – from Bangladesh to Sudan, Sudan to Jakarta, Jakarta to Boston, Washington D.C. to Manila – and it is this itineracy that has defined and shaped her subject matter. Pacita Abad’s work brought together images and experiences across cultures, economies and histories and offered reflections on the global long before the discourses of globalisation and transnationalism were felt in the art world.

Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the National Museum , Jakarta, Indonesia; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, The Museum of Philippine Art, Manila; Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila; Bhirasri Museum of Modern Art, Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore; The National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, among others. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including: Beyond the Border: Art by Recent Immigrant, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Asia/ America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art, a traveling exhibition organized by the Asia Society, New York; Olympiad of Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, Korea; 2nd Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan and La Bienal de Habana, Havana, Cuba. She died in Singapore in 2004.

Born in Batanes, Philippines in 1946, Pacita Abad was the daughter of a congressman, who had hoped that she would traverse a similar political path. But the course of Abad’s life changed after a year of travelling in 1973 to Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She decided to take up painting. Abad later married a developmental economist, Jack Garrity, whose work predisposed them to travel to developing countries. Her experiences in each place informed her subject matter from the beginning; traditional art practices like ink-brush painting in Korea, paint brushing on silk in the Dominican Republic, batik painting in Indonesia, tie-dye in Africa, macramé in Papua New Guinea, were techniques she introduced either singly or several in one art work. In the late seventies and early eighties Abad introduced a quilting method, trapunto, onto her canvasses, which were then layered with objects on top of her quilted material: stones, sequins, glass, buttons, shells, mirrors, printed textile. She referred to this technique, and the process of layering, stuffing, stitching and the collaging of objects on painted canvas, as trapunto painting.

Characterised by vibrant colour and accumulated material, these large scale trapunto paintings traverse a diversity of subject matter: from tribal masks and social realist tableaus depicting the individuals and communities that Abad encountered throughout her travels, to lush and intricately constructed underwater compositions and abstractions. She lived and travelled in a bewildering amount of countries – from Bangladesh to Sudan, Sudan to Jakarta, Jakarta to Boston, Washington D.C. to Manila – and it is this itineracy that has defined and shaped her subject matter. Pacita Abad’s work brought together images and experiences across cultures, economies and histories and offered reflections on the global long before the discourses of globalisation and transnationalism were felt in the art world.

Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the National Museum , Jakarta, Indonesia; Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong, The Museum of Philippine Art, Manila; Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila; Bhirasri Museum of Modern Art, Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore; The National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston, among others. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including: Beyond the Border: Art by Recent Immigrant, Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Asia/ America: Identities in Contemporary Asian American Art, a traveling exhibition organized by the Asia Society, New York; Olympiad of Art, National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, Korea; 2nd Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan and La Bienal de Habana, Havana, Cuba. She died in Singapore in 2004.

I know you are angry these days
2002
7108
1
oil, silver paper on canvas
59.06h x 19.69w in • 150h x 50w cm
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Paris in the Fall
2003
7059
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Acrylic, painted cloth stitched on canvas
94.49h x 70.87w in • 240h x 180w cm
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Pacita Sailing
1983
723
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acrylic paint, rick rack ribbons, painted cloth on stitched and padded canvas
106.30h x 55.12w in • 270h x 140w cm
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Omdurman
1982
722
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acrylic paint on cotton, hand-sewn and trapuntoed
86.61h x 47.24w in • 220h x 120w cm
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Early one morning
2003
7058
1
Oil, painted cloth stitched on canvas
94.49h x 70.87w in • 240h x 180w cm
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Blues train to Yogya
2002
7057
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Oil, painted cloth stitched on canvas
94.49h x 70.87w in • 240h x 180w cm
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From Doro Wat to sushi and chicken wings and
things
1991
7056
1
acrylic, oil, painted canvas, plastic buttons, beads on stitched and padded canvas
96.06h x 68.90w in • 244h x 175w cm
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Mayan Mask
1990
7054
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acrylic, painted cloth, rick rack ribbons, handwoven yarn on stitched and padded canvas
98.43h x 68.11w in • 250h x 173w cm
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Hagen Man
1983
7052
1
acrylic on cotton, trapuntoed and hand-sewn
97.64h x 51.97w in • 248h x 132w cm
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Red-Eye Mask
1994
7053
1
oil, mirrors, plastic buttons, rick rack ribbons on stitched and padded canvas
77.95h x 57.09w x 198h x 145w cm
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I thought the streets were paved with gold
1991
7055
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acrylic, oil, wood bristle, painted canvas, painted cloth on stitched and padded canvas
94h x 68w in • 238.76h x 172.72w cm
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Selected Exhibitions

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