In Conversation With Meredith Pardue

May 17, 2016
Meredith Pardue's "Carribea X" mixed media on canvas in various shades of blue, green, gray and tan. The painting combines the different cool colors but are used so that no shade completely overlaps the other.
Detail of "Carribea X"

Every week, we'll be sitting down with one of our gallery artists to discuss their work, process, inspiration, and stories. This week we're speaking with Meredith Pardue.


"Carribea X"


 Meredith Pardue's work explores the essence of the organic. She extracts specific moments in flux - growth and decay, blooming and withering, birth and death - and forces them to be still, but their energy continues to activate the surface. Her forms appear to shift around the plane, pushed and pulled by the tension between the freedom of her expressive mark-making and how she controls those marks through her layering. The harnassing of her initial intuitive underpainting transforms her marks into forms remniscent of familar shapes from nature and biology yet their interpretation is left just out of reach in their abstraction. The resulting textural layers create a mesmerizing psychological atmosphere. Pardue spoke with us about her work from her studio in Austin, Texas. 


Photo courtesy of the artist


What are your earliest memories relating to art?


I remember being eight years old telling my six year old sister that our lives are a collection of our choices with each decision informing the next, and that we effectively create our own lives and our own story.  Although elementary, this explanation of events building upon each other is not different from my painting process, which I feel has always resembled an organic, fluid dialogue rather than a blueprint or means to an end.


You've said your work is inspired by nature and the processes that happen within nature. What drew you to this as a source of inspiration?


Yes, it is true that my work inspired by elements from nature, but I use these elements more as a point of departure for the action of painting rather than as the subject itself.  Creating within these self-imposed parameters allows for chaos to be present without taking over the piece.  I have always found more freedom within some kind of structure than in complete anarchy.


Photo courtesy of the artist


What is your process like?


My process varies from painting to painting.  One consistency throughout all of my work is my tendency to layer pigment, values, and forms in my compositions and to work with the internal mantra “nothing is precious.” My only intention is to create work that by means of beauty transports the viewer, at least in some capacity, to an alternate perspective, understanding, or awareness.  



Photo courtesy of the artist


Is the palette in each work in response to a certain source of inspiration? Or have you developed a palette over time that you work with and you pull from each time?


Sometimes the color palettes I use are dictated by a specific experience or source of visual inspiration, but this is usually not the case.  The choices I make regarding color relationships are always intentional, but tend to flow naturally from a subliminal place rather than the forefront of my consciousness.


Photo courtesy of the artist


Could you talk a little bit about how you’ve found your visual vocabulary?


It evolved over the course of two decades and is still evolving.  When my visual vocabulary is no longer evolving, then I will no longer make art.  The evolution thus far has been a long metamorphosis that began in 1999 with the deconstruction of the human figure.  Through various transitions over time, this vocabulary became an undulating collection of organic forms. 


Photo courtesy of the artist



What are you currently exploring in your work?


Right now I am most interested in reaching back into my past and rediscovering and reinventing some of the thought patterns I used to have.  I am also interested in reintroducing some of the painting techniques I practiced religiously during the late 90’s, especially the layering of translucent forms with questionable edges and internal boundaries.


"Mariposa III"


Explore more of Meredith Pardue's work here.


Beautiful work

Jora Nelstein
18 May 2016

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