A Punch of Color: Fifty Years of Painting by Camille Patha

Camille Patha, Punch, 2013. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches.

Camille Patha, Punch, 2013. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches.

Camille Patha’s art is raw, emotional and honest. In her six decade career, this Northwest Artist has explored everything from gestural abstraction to surrealist photorealism.

The Tacoma Art Museum will host the first retrospective of her work since 1979. Aptly named “A Punch of Color: Fifty Years of Painting by Camille Patha,” this exhibit , on display Feb. 1—May 25, features energetic imagery and an explosive use of color.

After finishing both her BA and MFA in art from the University of WA in 1965, Patha became known for her use of gestural abstraction in her paintings. Not limiting herself to one particular style, she also took up hard-edged abstraction and surrealist-infused photorealism before circling back to the colorful abstraction she is exploring today.

Her work is both passionate and purposeful, with large, emotional and vibrant shapes and gestures. Despite their lack of an identifiable subject, the paintings have a raw, humanistic quality that is drawn from their warm and welcoming tone.

Path’s expressive style is a result of her contemplation of the “convoluted complexities of life in the twenty-first century,” which she explains in her artist statement.

Not only will visitors to the Tacoma Art Museum have the opportunity to view paintings from the entirety of Patha’s career, but the artist will make several appearances this spring to talk about her work and career.

The first opportunity for Museum visitors to meet Patha will be at a discussion of her process at 2 pm on Saturday, Feb. 22. On Mar. 15 she will attend a benefit luncheon at Hotel Murano where purses designed by the artist herself will be auctioned off to support the Fund for Women & Girls. At 11 am on Saturday, Mar. 15, she will give a workshop on color and composition, and on Wednesday, Apr. 2 she will share her inspiration and experiences from throughout her 50 year career as part of the Tacoma Art Museum’s unique Lunch & Learn program. 

To learn more about these inspiring lectures and series, visit the Tacoma Art Museum online. Museum hours are Wed.-Sun 10-5 and every third Thursday of the month is free from 5-8. Regular admission prices are $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors and military, and free for kids 5 and under.

This retrospective is a much anticipated exhibit and a must see for lovers of Northwest Art. Even those who are new to abstract art will find resonance in Patha’s paintings. As the artist herself explains, “With all its seductions, vulnerabilities, and sometimes treacherous outcomes, this is Life’s journey, and it is intriguing.”

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