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Martha Pachon Rodriguez: Multi-ethnic awareness: a tribute to symmetry.


RARELY IN LIFE DOES ONE HAVE THE CHANCE TO WITNESS the stylistic evolution of such a multifaceted artist. Martha Pachon Rodriguez graduated in Fine Arts from Neiva, Colombia at the Surcolombiana University and from a tender age she taught in the same university where she studied, training young Colombian artists. She completed her studies in Italy at Faenza's State-run Gaetano Ballardini Art Institute, where she completed the two-year specialization course in "Stoneware and Porcelain Art".

Recently she had an extraordinary experience in China where she was the guest of the Fule International Ceramic Art Museum at Fuping. There over the course of several weeks she created a series of works that will remain in the permanent collections and which are dedicated to the themes of life and femininity.

Her technique is meticulous, precise and accurate. Nothing is left to chance, and symmetry underscores every work, whether it is tiny jewellery or as great in value as an installation or environmental work. Her work constantly refers to the organic world of life, the forms that generate it, where the order of the composition is sound and ancient, borrowed from millions of years of evolution of the species. The idea of keeping the future stable, using a flawless technique for treating stoneware and porcelain to represent the most delicate and sensitive parts of human beings, their most fluctuating, lively, active and fertile parts, indicates the sense of continuity, of transcendence of her work. Accordingly her works are comprehensible and can be interpreted by all, just as real art dictates.

Martha Pachon s works are composite, complex objects, like hulls crammed with seeds, echinoderms, primitive objects like the earliest cells that needed flabella to get around. Each work features varying aspects of its relationship with colour. In the installation entitled Manto Nuziale (Wedding Cloak) through the soft, light shades of pink and transparent hues, the artist enters into a relationship with the colour tone, with visual communication itself. They are details that seem to have originated from her feminine culture, from her sensitivity towards gentle, soft, graceful and fragrant hues.

In the work entitled Viaggi (Voyages), she goes back to childhood memories when her Spanish, Indigenous and Lebanese origins all lived under the same roof. The fabrics in the Pachon household came from various parts of the world; her great-grandfather was a sailor and brought back items from many places, objects whose colours, weaves, decorations and textures have now been used as inspiration.

The artist looks back over these childhood memories, when as a child she would caress them with the feeling that she could travel through them. Going back to analysing these fabrics has a deep-seated value, because fabrics help us understand the culture of a population, of an ethnic group; they help make up an image of those using them. The fabric is conjured up like a symbol, like a memory of time, as a story, an object of desire, a representation--from days gone by--of the condition of the woman, the person and the standard of life, if it is true that once upon a time they were purposely designed for the individual family. A symbolic representation of these weaves and decorations, borrowed from the process of decalcomania is like a journey across the world. To sum up, the poetic substance is this, as the artist likes to define herself, "a bit of magical realism that continues in recent works, combined with an artistic movement from the South American countries of the Caribbean."

With regard to ceramics, on the other hand, Pachon describes her interest in a noble material with which anything can be done. The clay allows one to translate the textures of a fabric, or reproduce something out of nature, or interpret a human value; ceramics are a docile yet at the same time complex medium. Managing to dominate air, fire, earth and water all at the same time is fascinating and calls for multiple skills. And the real essence of Martha Pachon Rodriguez lies here, when she states that clay is an unsolved material, and the artist is given the task of solving it; accordingly he or she is forced to design complex objects. Its very complexity allows the artist to be more creative, more ingenious. Perhaps it is for this reason that she expresses herself in a variety of contexts, such as works to be set upon the ground, or on the wall, for furnishing, hanging, for installations and even for jewellery.


Rolando Giovannini is a Ceramics Critic and the Director of the State Institute for Ceramics in Faenza, Italy
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Author:Giovannini, Rolando
Publication:Ceramics Art & Perception
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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