Meryl Pataky Digs Deeper Into The Medium Of Neon at Stephanie Chefas Projects

Jul 06, 2018 - Jul 28, 2018Stephanie Chefas Projects, Portland, OR

Stephanie Chefas Projects has brought Oakland-based artist Meryl Pataky back to their Portland, OR gallery for a stunning collection of new work. Breaking new ground while fortifying her devotion to light, Pataky continues to explore her aesthetic to mind-blowing effect. Flexing her experimental muscles for this exhibit, she adds a quick cast of resin and black pigment to the neon tubes, simulating the leak of a transformer. In other works, Pataky rests a cinder block atop the neon tube while the entire piece lays over a hand-silvered piece of glass, thereby leaving a glowing reflection as an unexpected viewable element. "By experimenting as much as possible with my medium, I find that I continue to see joy in the medium", says Pataky. "Right now experimentation is a huge part of my process".

In addition to a new level of attention towards materials, Pataky is creating a new series of brightly colored miniature palm trees. These sculptures first debuted in 2013 at Art Basel Miami Beach. Hoping to upend a common cliche in the neon world, Pataky made the palm trees small and multi-colored, modernizing them in the process. To further the concept, Pataky has incorporated the quick cast 'drips' to each frond and trunk.

In the artist's own words: "The work has become self-aware. It knows how ubiquitous it is and yet so misunderstood. It knows it will be in pop-culture’s favor for now, as it has seen itself before so many times in its past, but will soon fall again when it becomes oversaturated and squeezed for all of its luster, turned to kitsch and trifle through the scramble for profit on a trend. Fossilized in Instagram moments, glowing truisms hung overbends, and cliches on nightstands. In every artist's portfolio. It’s all happened before. When a neon transformer begins to die, it leaks tar. The motor has been turning for a while. And then it dies." 

Photos by Brock Brake // Text provided by Stephanie Chefas Projects