For an artist the rewarding thing about a retrospective exhibit is that it provides an opportunity to identify consistencies in the work over time. One can search for common themes, repeated shapes and patterns, comparable materials and other aspects that the art shares even though many years may elapse between the making of one object and another.
This exhibit consists of ten series of works that I created between 1990 and 2015. Although the series seem to express many different themes, they are really sub-themes. These are intimately bound together by threads of concern about the fragility of our planet… the delicate condition of our earthly home. I use a variety of media to express this. Steel, hydrocal cement, and acrylic paint are man- made. Wood, natural stone, paper, pastel and beeswax are materials from the earth itself. In the selection of these I am saying, “Let us use tools that are both manufactured and organic to bring the world into a harmony, a balance.” Various combinations of these artistic media can be found in my work at all stages.
The sculpture and drawings are notable for their sense of peace and quiet. They are meditative, soft and emotional. The art is not marked by vigorous activity. Even their energy is that of the spirit more than the physical. Epilogue 18, Gate 1 and Tea reflect this Zen quality.
Another common thread is seriality or repetition. This may be found in many of my creations. It provides a sense of rhythm that moves the viewer’s eye from one element to another. At least half of the works in the exhibit contain reiteration as an element of their design. Note such examples as Thought Streams, Eagle Feather Chimes, and Infinite Variations.
A muted palette runs through all of the work. Earth colors root the work to the earth. Subdued color serves as a ground for rebirth and renewal…a common theme in both my artwork and our earth’s survival. The idea of recovery from a disaster became important in the art in 1990 after the land we lived on in Arkansas had recovered from a forest fire and a flooding river. I began to use regeneration as an inspiration for almost all of my work, and this continued until the present. It follows that there is a sense of rising, lifting up, almost levitation in much of the work. The Epilogues, Harvest, and Commence all have this upward thrust.
What a thrill it has been to select these works and have them installed on the walls of the Sculpture Ranch and Galleries. What a thrill it has been to see my work consistently growing, evolving, and expressing this theme. I am humbled.
—Pat Musick, 2016