The Painting Center is pleased to present Composite Views, an exhibition of recent mixed media works on paper and panel by Andrea Packard. Working from both memory and improvisation, Packard creates abstracted landscapes infused with rhythmic gestures, varied textures, and a color palette that blends earth tones with vibrant color. Beginning most works with painted gestures, Packard alternately adds and subtracts print fragments, handmade paper, scraps of fabric, and paint until her surfaces attain a relief-like quality. The resulting images evoke a visionary terrain in which woodlands, bodies of water, and shafts of sunlight become one with the myriad textures of collage. Packard responds to the evocative potential of her materials as well as to specific sources of inspiration such as the steep trails in the Crum Creek Woods near her home in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. As she states: “A scrap of fabric may suggest the form of an arching tree branch or the textures of a multi-colored meadow, but it also immediately communicates specific cultural values and histories. We all wear and see fabric every day and instinctively understand whether a particular material is manufactured or handmade, inexpensive or luxurious, familiar or exotic, old or new. I am interested in making works in which collage elements convey a specific pictorial illusion and impression of nature and, at the same time, prompt varied cultural associations.” College materials seem ideally suited to expressing the composite nature of landscape and our perception of it. Densely layered through growth and decay and continually reconfigured by geological upheaval, the mutability of landscape provides a metaphor for the shifting terrain of memory and identity. The exhibition’s title, Composite Views, reflects Packard’s interest in synthesizing distinct and often contrasting memories, realities, or viewpoints. Whereas artists working in collage often emphasize the cacophony of disparate materials, jagged edges, and graphic flatness, Packard emphasizes the ways in which disparate materials can harmoniously recombine. Although she often selects patterned prints that contribute to a flattened sense of space, her art also reveals a painterly and unifying aesthetic.
Packard has shown her paintings, prints, and sculptures in over fifty exhibitions throughout the United States. Her recent solo exhibitions include Composing Nature at the List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Vista and Strata at The Painting Center, New York and The Nature of Collage at The Philadelphia International Airport. She is represented in the permanent collections of The Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia; Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville AR, the Mann Center for the Arts, Philadelphia; Arco Inc.; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia; and numerous private collections. Packard received an M.F.A. from American University (1994), a Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1989), and a B.A. from Swarthmore College (1985). She has won numerous awards for her work, including residency fellowships from the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, St. Mary’s College, Chester Springs Studio, and the Vermont Studio Center. Previously, she received the American University's Glassman and Sacknoff Awards; the Pennsylvania Academy's Cresson Traveling Scholarship; the Rohm and Haas Purchase Prize; and Swarthmore College's Oak Leaf Award, Flack Achievement Award, and Lockwood Fellowship. Since 1995, Packard has directed the List Gallery, Swarthmore College. She has written numerous essays on diverse artists including Alison Saar, Buzz Spector, Tom Uttech, Rackstraw Downes, Stanley Lewis, and Emmet Gowin. She has also served as an art juror, panelist, curator, lecturer, and instructor at varied institutions including the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Dartmouth College, and Oglethorpe University Museum, Atlanta. Since 2009, she has been Consulting Curator for Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, Arkansas.