Pat Gainor has been a painter for pretty much her whole life, but in her new body of work she proves it’s never too late to make a breakthrough. The past year and a half was a time of experiment and introspection in Gainor’s studio, where a focus on reimagined landscape gave way to a process of mixed media abstraction made with an eccentric homemade stencil technique and a no holds barred embrace of supersaturated colors and richly textured pattern. Both emotive and confectionary, the embellished post-pop works in Gainor’s EYE CANDY go on view this month at Gallery 825 in West Hollywood.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
PAT GAINOR: I was busy during the week with modeling jobs in NYC but my weekends were free. Being an art lover, I bought an oil paint set with canvases and started painting in Central Park. The city was on fire with inspiration everywhere you looked. Also I lived next to the Museum of Modern Art and my frequent visits gave me confidence, real or false? Who knows but it worked. When one of those paintings was accepted into an exhibition at the Grand Rapids Art Museum it was confirmed, I was truly an artist.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
My work is about ideas. I want to bring a new way of seeing to the viewer: one that enlightens and brings emotion, beauty and satisfaction through my personal language of shapes, colors, patterns and unique composition. This is particularly evident in my new EYE CANDY series opening August 14 at Gallery 825.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
My physics professor in college told me I should go into science. Many artists love science. I might continue with my acting career and move on to directing. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Frank McCourt told me I have a book in me…maybe many. I wish we could have more than one life.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
At seventeen I wanted to learn about the world. I wasn’t ready to narrow my focus to one thing. I loved philosophy, literature, French, drama and all the liberal arts. I was like a sponge thirsting for learning beyond high school. Also I won a four year academic scholarship. After graduating with a BA degree and years of painting under my belt I started to take classes at Otis College of Art and Design. I was ready for that next step in my growth as an artist then.
Why do you live and work in L.A. and not elsewhere?
It was a difficult decision to leave New York but I thought my acting and creative opportunities would be greater in L.A.
When was your first show?
It was at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. One of my Central Park paintings was chosen for an exhibition.
When is your current/most recent/next show?
I am thrilled and honored to have a solo show in Los Angeles and a museum exhibition during this time period. The solo show is at Gallery 825 in Los Angeles called EYE CANDY featuring my newly evolved, art language in joyful paintings. The all-day opening is Saturday, August 14 from 10am to 5pm, then open until September 10. The show in Japan is at the Chiba City Museum of Art, 20th Japan International Art Exchange Exhibition, curated by Julienne Johnson, August 3 – 8 during the Olympics.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Do you listen to music when you paint?
I work on my large pieces outside and normally there is no music unless I decide to blast it from inside. In the studio I often play rock music. I switched to classical and the work was less spontaneous so I returned to rock.
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