“Life in the Margins” is the first exhibition in the United Kingdom by Filipino-American artist Pacita Abad (1946–2004). Curated in collaboration with London-based artist Pio Abad, the exhibition includes 20 large-scale trapunto paintings and works on fabric made between 1983 and 2002.
Trapunto refers to a quilting technique that Abad began experimenting with in the late 1970s in which canvasses are padded and stitched before being painted and layered with a range of printed textiles and objects, including buttons, rickrack, sequins and shells.
Characterized by their vibrant color and intricate construction, these works combine a broad range of styles, subjects and techniques, from social realist tableaus incorporating indigenous textiles to richly detailed abstractions inspired by Korean ink brush painting, Indonesian batik and Papua New Guinean macramé.
This pluralist approach to image-making across cultures, histories and styles underpins Abad’s work throughout the decades. Focusing on her depictions of the experiences of immigrants and her engagement with diverse cultural traditions, the exhibition at Spike Island offers an idiosyncratic perspective on transnational art and culture.
“Life in the Margins” runs from 18 January to 5 April 2020 at Spike Island, Bristol, United Kingdom.