I am an artist who is intensely connected to my materials. I aim to perfect my crafts and to expand my knowledge by choosing new and unexpected mediums. I am obsessed with acquiring as much knowledge about as many materials as possible. Through them, I gain an understanding of my humanity.
Inspired by science and the origins of existence in the cosmos, I deconstruct my materials to elements. I try to find an elemental trace of our cosmic birthplace in every material I choose. My mediums include but are certainly not limited to: copper, silver, steel, lead, noble gases, sulfur, tungsten, aluminum, silica, oxygen in plants and carbon based mediums like handmade paper, wood, and found objects. This matter represents life and its building blocks – The Periodic Elements created in the Universe.
Physically we share the same elemental makeup within us all yet we are all so unique in our psychology. This paradox drives my concepts and is an ever-evolving theme in my work. I employ psychological and spiritual imagery combined with my elemental mediums to discuss the fascinating fact that we are all made of the same stuff, yet we are all so very different.
Meryl Pataky, “The Precious Metals: Ag” and “The Precious Metals: Cu” (Photo: Brock Brake)
“The Golden Hour” is a show that is entirely dedicated to the sun (and all stars). I aim to remind, or teach, my audience that stars are the source of all that we know and experience in our lifetime on this planet. Stars are furnaces that create all of the elements and particles that make up everything in the Universe and our Earth.
From condensed Hydrogen gas, stars are born. Once Hydrogen becomes dense enough, it starts a process known as nuclear fusion. Hydrogen fuses to Helium and then on to a long list of other elements such as Carbon, Oxygen and Iron (with many in between). Once stars start producing Iron, it marks the beginning of the end in a star’s life. Iron cannot fuse any further and causes the star to become heavy. This weight translates to gravity in the laws of the Universe – the more mass, the more gravity. This gravity begins to condense the star eventually condensing it so much that it either collapses onto itself in the form of a White Dwarf, or it explodes in a Supernova.
Meryl Pataky (Photo: Brock Brake)
The materials present in my exhibition utilize all of the elements present during a star’s lifetime: Iron and Carbon in steel frames, Carbon in organic materials such as deer hides, Oxygen in the succulents of my living panel, and, most importantly, Helium in my glass tubing. Helium is the first bi-product of nuclear fusion and therefore the first step in the ongoing cycle of life and death.
Additional materials that are highlighted in the exhibition are Silver, Gold and Copper. These metals are only produced during the supernova explosion of a dying star. The heat and energy produced during this explosion is the only place in the Universe where these heavy metals can be produced. This is where they get their name, “precious metals”.
My process starts with a lot of thinking and writing. I aim to bring a feeling of humanity and inspiration visually to my work while combining the scientific themes. I think of strong symbolisms to combine with my materials all the while keeping in mind composition and narrative. I constantly keep my audience in mind by asking the question, “Will this inspire my viewer?” The exhibition needs to create a visceral experience for them. I want them to feel a sense of comfort while they entertain these immeasurable concepts.
Meryl Pataky, “The Golden Hour” will be at Shooting Gallery through August 23, 2014.
Meryl Pataky, “The Ace of Swords” (Photo: Brock Brake)