Patricia Carrigan | Emilia Dubicki | Barbara Hocker | Andra Samelson

West Gallery | July 17 – August 22, 2020

For me painting is about telling stories and recalling memories.  The predominant focus of my studio work is on heritage and how memories we pass on from generation to generation shift and evolve in significance depending upon what we choose to remember and what we choose to forget.

This current body of work is centered on issues of direction, tracks and traces of where I have been or may go, of losing one way and finding another route back.  Celtic cairns, map icons, star charts, trail blazes, numbers, words, time charts, family stories, animal symbols, clothes, and furniture suggest markers that are both recognizable and at the same time vary in their meaning by placement or juxtaposition of each other.

I worK primarily in oil painting, drawing, or mixd media collage on primed canvas, board, or prepared papers usually on a series of 6-8 pieces at a time.  I often will layer several surfaces and images, covering and uncovering as I go, seeking out what lies above or below my original image.  This process of working abstractly with some definitive reference point reveals bits of imagery slowy over time like the telling of a story.

I am most interested in how stories of personal experiences, myths, and personal legends change and alter each time told and how often we actively choose to rewrite history each time we tell a story.


Recently I have been working on paintings that have been inspired by my drives on the main roads and back roads of Old Saybrook, Lyme, Old Lyme, Chester, Essex, Deep River and East Haddam. The paintings in this exhibit are my interpretations of the rivers, inlets, falls, trees, rocks, skies and scenic routes in these Connecticut towns.

I let the colors, structures and light of the scenery I’ve observed emerge on its own from memory mixed with invention. By invention I mean I recreate moods with the energy of vivid blues, for example, and with expressive or subtle brush work.

The paintings are also about questions. How do I paint thoughts? How do I paint sound or emotion? I work on a painting with these ideas and certain visuals in mind.  The process of painting is a continuous search for the truth. When I paint I want to travel to a new place in the work -- I want the work to be alive.
During this time of social distancing and lock downs, my studio routine hasn’t changed. I continue to take the drives, revisiting certain routes, finding new ones, and connecting with the beauty of where I live. The land/waterscapes I observe as the seasons change give me plenty of imagery to work into my paintings. I have been steadily painting and incorporating my observations from the road into the works. I hope that there are openings in these paintings for viewers to enter their own contemplative spaces.
The painters whose work I always return to are Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, Willem DeKooning, Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell. Contemporary painters I admire are Amy Sillman, Pat Steir, and Brice Marden.

Viewers have often told me that my work is very peaceful, quiet, and serene. I think this comes from my love of being alone in the woods or at the shore and trying to bring that feeling to my art making. My ongoing practices of Tai Chi/meditation and study of East Asian metaphysics and aesthetics also inform my art practice. Yin and yang, being and nonbeing, stillness and movement, light and dark, sea and sky, surface and depth, artist and viewer, self and nature - I am interested in exploring how one can see beyond polarities to sense the invisible and mysterious unity underlying them.

My current art practice has three tributaries:

Water: Using digital photographs of water (streams, rivers, lakes, and sea) and abstract hand painted evocations of the phenomenology of water, I create mixed media woven paper wall pieces, handmade artist books, and paper installations exploring layering, translucency, and reflection.

Trees: I have been working with digital images of trees for many years. In fact, trees were the very first subject I was drawn to as a child! My more recent pieces use encaustic medium and layering with digital photographs.

Travelogue: This project began as a practice of shooting from a moving car without looking through the viewfinder. When driving the car the practice of not choosing anything other than where to point the camera is enforced necessarily by concerns for safety. Of course, most of the images captured this way are at the margin areas of visibility or legibility. I also choose to enhance the abstraction of the images by using single glass or plastic lens optics in the camera, as well as an altered infrared camera. Serendipity provides some images that resonate for me, and these are the images I choose to print and work with. I created a project of 101 encaustic panels using these images. I am also using these images as a basis for drawings and for a project of sequenced images based on the movie Paris, TX.

I am a multi-media artist and my work explores the relationship of microcosm and macrocosm with imagery often associated with molecular and galactic systems.  I am interested in the movement of constellations with their regular and irregular orbits, charged particles and cells swimming under a microscope, and the electrochemical impulses in our complex brains.
In my recent paintings I am engaged in bringing the instinctive, immediate, and improvisational qualities of drawing to the process of painting.  With various tools I draw into my paint, spontaneously creating a layered, linear matrix. The biomorphic forms that emerge show the traces of their evolution. 
I am drawn to asymmetries and irregularities that produce what is surprising and idiosyncratic.I have frequently used the grid in my work to showcase the dialog between multiple, related images, exploring both the discord and harmony created by color.