Artist Patricia Kilburg’s latest exhibition took a lifetime to create. “Twists and Turns: A Patricia Kilburg Retrospective,” on exhibit at the Artists Collective | Spartanburg April 6 through May 1, includes 40 artworks created over more than 25 years.
“In exhibiting several bodies of work created over time and how they relate, the message is about the life work of a passionate artist who has spent most of her life studying, honing her craft and expressing through her art the glory and mystery of life as she sees it,” says the Greenville, S.C., artist.
“Twists and Turns,” on display in the Artists Collective’s Solomon Gallery at 578 W. Main St., is Kilburg’s take on her most recent works made during a tumultuous 2020. “These paintings express my thoughts and emotions living with the unexpected and making choices through that lens,” she says. “I realized that this theme also reflects a lifetime of unexpected influences and choices when making my art. It seemed like it was a good time for a retrospective.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Visitors to the exhibition can expect to see abstract and colorful compositions in fiber, acrylic, collage, prints on paper and encaustic – a paint created from pigment and hot beeswax. “Simple forms and expressive marks shape the direction of my work,” Kilburg says. “Visual influences include natural and human-made forms, repeating patterns and things I see in the course of my day. I like that sometimes my work carries a sense of mystery and ambiguity, where reality is momentarily suspended, evoking the viewer’s own feelings and experiences.”
Kilburg grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where she was “quite the young observer. Discarded scraps of paper, broken toys, seed pods, unusual rocks were all fair game for my collections.” Visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, viewing its collection of paintings, sculptures, ancient coins, African masks, textiles, prints and more catalyzed her interest in pursuing her own art. “The idea that basic materials could be transformed into beautiful and meaningful objects stayed with me. Today, it drives me to give form to my own creative ideas.
“Seduced by the tactile appeal of various materials, I investigate and respond to the medium itself as a place to start, a ‘way in’ to my process of creating,” she continues. “Regardless of which medium I’m using, in my head, there is the unspoken question, ‘What would happen if ….’”
Kilburg has exhibited throughout the U.S. and internationally through the Art in the Embassies program. Her work has been exhibited at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in Charlotte, N.C., and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. She has taught and demonstrated encaustic techniques at the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Furman University Fine Arts Club, the Anderson Art Center and the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, of which she is a founder and the board chair. She maintains a studio and gallery in the village of West Greenville.
Kilburg, who has lived in Greenville for more than 30 years with her husband, Don, says she’s excited and honored to have an exhibition at the Artists Collective. “I have great respect for the artists and organizers who have worked so hard to build an Artists Collective of such high caliber. The people and venue most certainly have a wonderful impact on the community and beyond.”
She adds that she hopes the viewer of her exhibit “has an enjoyable and rewarding experience, makes new connections with art and the world, and with their own life experiences” as they explore the bold, rich colors, the organic shapes and patterns, the order in chaos – the emotional and universal experiences her art is meant to portray.
“Themes expressed in many of the works include ideas of darkness and light, impulse and control, mortality and eternity,” Kilburg says. “It reflects a lifetime of making and sharing art.”