Briefly describe the work you do.
I hand sculpt white on white acrylic polymer.A paean to nature, I translate the luxuriance, sensuality and fecundity found in flora and the ornamental. In an artist residency in the Czech Republic, I lived and painted in an 18th Century palace—an immersion in the splendors of the baroque and rococo, which impressed upon me the ties between the decorative arts and the narrative, myth-making power of contemporary abstract painting. They are pure, meditative, and sacred, painterly and sculptural, minimalist and maximalist, serene and dramatic, with undertones of danger and seduction. I aim to bring viewers back into touch with the opulent physicality of art, and to remind them of the beauty within themselves.
Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.
In my painting there is a sense of luxury, rooted in the luxuriance of nature. As a child I frolicked in nature, camping in the forests, swimming in Santa Cruz, and running around my family’s 80-acre farm in Minnesota. I spent my early adult years in New Orleans and Miami, sultry sub-tropical cities with spicy cuisine and brilliant colors. But not until I lived in Portland, Oregon, with its gorgeous gardens lining the avenues, did I begin to translate nature’s sensuality and fecundity into my art.
The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I consider my whole life being a studio practice. Yes, I “toil away alone” but I also am engaged in life, traveling, having rich conversations with other artists and people from all walks of life. I live, breath and am an artist. This is my life and this what defines me, this is how I live.
What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I am constantly challenging my self to develop new dialogue in the concept of paint as visceral medium. I ground myself in the process and materials. Each piece elicits a visceral reaction while making associations with the natural world of flora and fauna. My language is about beauty and is both visual and descriptive. My art reflects upon the past of Baroque elegance where design evoked the majesty of nature and these elements were metaphors for the human condition. I combine symbolism and innovation of the medium of paint to speak to a new dialog in painting.
When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?
My best time of day to work is to start mid morning after I have done my daily routine of taking care of my pets, doing a daily practice of yoga. I work every day 5-6 days a week any where from 5 hours to the wee hours in the morning. When i am in the “making”, I get lost, and time escapes me and before I know it, is 4am!
How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?
I have been working white on white since 2005. My strength is in color theory, but the work I do begs to be in white.
Right now, I am in the process of transitioning from the highly decorative forms, introducing a bit color while still focusing on the opulent, sublime, and subtlety of cascading light and how it reflects on the surface.
Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?
Family: My twin sister, Allison. My husband Sam. My pets, Amelia, Count Zero and Betty. Friends: Richard Speer (my dear friend and art critic and amazing writer).Kelly Kerwick, Abi Spring, Dana Lynn Louis, Karen Silve, (all dear friends and amazing artists). Writers: (Just to name a few). Again:Richard Speer (my dear friend and art critic and amazing writer). Dave Hickey: “The Invisible Dragon: Essays on Beauty”, Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Comopolitanism. “Odd Nerdrum: Kitsch, More than Art” by Jan-Ove Tuv (Author), Bjorn Li (Author), Dag Solhjell (Author), Odd Nerdrum (Artist). Camille Paglia, “Sexual personae: Art and Decadence fron Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson”. And “Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars”. Virgina Wolf “A Room of One’s Own”.
A professional artist for over twenty years, Eugenia Pardue has showed her work internationally and been collected by numerous corporations and individuals. Her exhibition career includes dozens of solo and group exhibitions. In 2012 Eugenia was awarded “Grand Prize” in the Center on Contemporary Art Northwest Annual in Seattle, WA, an exhibition of comprehensive survey of the top tier of Northwest Artists. She has commissioned works in the Presidential Suite in the Nines Hotel, Portland OR, Tiffany’s & Co., The Ritz-Carlton Tyson Center in Washington DC. Her work has been reviewed in numerous local and national and international publications.
From an early age, Eugenia Pardue enjoyed the richness of engaging with tactile elements, as she experimented with painting, drawing and clay. When Pardue enrolled in a ceramics class at Florida International University, Miami her artistic career took focus. She majored in painting and was awarded her Masters of Fine Arts in 1990.
In 2003, Pardue eliminated oils from her stable and embraced gallons of acrylic medium. She chose to confront the contemporary dilemma of paintings where art became about the non-painting. Pardue decided to address this point of view head on by showcasing the versatility and complexity of painting as a subject in and of itself.
In 2006, Pardue participated in the “Milkwood Artist Residency” in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. Here she developed her work as seen today where she paints in white while applying decorative motifs and architectural elements. There is a luscious tension of the forms that allows the viewer to move inside and outside the composition. Her works take on the feminine quality of organic shapes while using a medium that is completely fluid. Shadow and shape are the subjects.
Pardue grounds herself in the process and materials. Each piece elicits a visceral reaction while making associations with the natural world of flora and fauna. Her language is about beauty and is both visual and descriptive. Her art reflects upon the past of Baroque elegance where design evoked the majesty of nature and these elements were metaphors for the human condition. Pardue combines symbolism and innovation of the medium of paint to speak to a new dialog in painting.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.