The inspiration for patterns is all around us—from concentric circles rippling from a stone thrown into the water to camouflaged bodies of plants, insects, and animals. Patterns provide elements of texture, elegance, drama, and style that illuminate an artist’s concept. The expressions of everyday life and vibrantly abstracted forms presented in Pattern Scheme evoke qualities of time, balance, repetition, focus, and design that emerge from the unique styles, subjects, and stories of each artist, connected through their varying use of pattern.
In Julie Blackmon’s photographic images PC (2005) and Stolen Kiss (2005), the black-and-white checkered pattern and zebra motif on the floors of the respective images guide the viewer’s eye toward other areas of the print. The saturation of patterns in artist Paula Rego’s pastel Recreation (1996) draws us into the artist’s precarious narrative even before we witness the peculiarities and depth of her subjects. The spontaneity of the narrative is also felt in artist Frank Stella’s Ohonoo (1994) in which he developed a riotous amount of pattern in several layers to illustrate the blending of passages from “Ohonoo,” a chapter from Herman Melville’s 1849 book Mardi, and a Voyage Thither, visualizing the chaotic swirling seacoast of an imagined island. These patterns invite viewers into these artists’ complex imaginations, revealing new areas of investigation within their works.