Contributror, Jillian Mackintosh takes us into the world of neon artist Meryl Pataky. I was really moved at how passionate Meryl is about her craft and process behind it. I think you will be as well. - meighan
I was recently invited to visit neon artist, Meryl Pataky, at her downtown studio. I watched in awe while she created new neon works for here upcoming solo exhibition Metaphysics at a.Muse Gallery opening November 11th 2010, from 6-9pm. Neon is the process of heating glass tubing to bend it. Each of the gasses used to illuminate Pataky’s work are elements of the noble gas family. Housed in glass tubing, they breathe and flow under the influence of electricity. Since they simply exist and react because of their surroundings, they share a common metaphysical thread with humans and animals. By using neon, Pataky sheds a light on the commonalities of basic nature - a battle between resistance and growth. Check out some pictures shot by Shea Greene of Meryl's neon processes and get a sneak peek of her new works.
Pataky’s work, entirely in neon, is based on Plato’s writings on “the first principals of things,” or in other words, “What does it mean to be?” Balancing the two strands of Metaphysics: one which holds that what exists lies beyond experience and the other which holds that objects of experience constitute the only reality, the artist attempts to address the human condition.
Choosing to recognize origins of linguistics and its evolution, Metaphisics references and is influenced by the writings of Kurt Vonnegut Jr: “Literature is a unique combination of words by an artist that express emotions and reflect our reality in poignant ways. Sometimes, nobody can say it better. It is my opinion that this is especially true with Vonnegut and I mean to acknowledge his influence on my being.”-Pataky
The letters in the sculpture titled “Metaphisics” consists of different typographical characteristics such as ligatures (when two letters share the same stem or stroke) and historical characteristics such as the long "s" where they are appropriate. Patterns on thin tracing paper show wear with burns and markings reflecting the process and maximize the translucence of the neon behind it. In this extensive collection of neon sculptures the artist also uses materials such as with wood, found objects and even home furnishings.