Friday, 19 April 2013

Fine Art artist Mary Pat Wallen crosses cultural boundaries on land and sea

Fine Art artist Mary Pat Wallen crosses cultural boundaries on land and sea, "There are times when it is crucial to venture outside of museums for art," according to a news report on Wednesday, April 17 from Charlotte's Creative Loafing, who hopes readers will turn out for an outdoor fine art festival being held this weekend.

They're right of course, since some art isn't even found on land, much less museums. So in this culturally diverse world that is plagued with economic and social turmoil, one has to not only be open to fine art wherever one can find it; one has to search high and low to find fine art that speaks to the diverse masses.

View slideshow: Photos of Yacht and Home Fine Art by Mary Pat Wallen
Art lovers are hard pressed to find such a creative form of expression that can cross any boundary, however. Add to that equation an art piece that would fit well on the high seas while looking great on land too, and the task is even more daunting—unless you consider the art work of Mary Pat Wallen, which the Atlanta Pop Culture Examiner interviewed this week.

Wallen, the mother of four and wife of one, has been pouring her heart and soul into creating fine art wall sculptures and 3D sculptures that are unidentifiable when it comes to race, age, socioeconomic background and even sex, in most cases. But I don’t think she did it intentionally.

Instead, Mary Pat Wallen may have done the impossible with her art all by happenstance, just seeking to create pieces that exemplify emotions we all feel, like being “boxed in” in life, feeling sorrow over loss, or emotions of extreme joy, and the feelings of being “on top of the world,” when an accomplishment is reached.

She names her pieces appropriately as a result, with titles like “Serentiy,” “Confidence,” and “Inner Beauty,” as well as "Cornered," "Bent but Not Broken," and "Life's an Uphill Battle."

Yet the mixed media artist didn’t start out her art career by creating the sculptures that drive her business now. Before that, in 1987, she started collaborating with yacht designer Marty Lowe, who she says began transforming the interiors of yachts from an ostentatious look to “sheer luxury, like having a beautiful home on the seas.”

It is no wonder, then, that America’s Bertram, and Italy’s Azimuti, Benetti and San Lorenzo yachts continue to seek the collaborative efforts of these two women when it comes to yacht interior design and art work.

Photos in the slideshow above reveal some of the high-seas looks created by the female partnership effort, and the word elegant doesn’t begin to describe it. And with Wednesday's announcement that the Singapore Yacht Show has opened this week with larger yachts than has ever been seen--including a 33m San Lorenzo, then more and more art will be needed to cover those high sea walls.

Yet it wasn't the lure of luxury that motivated Mary Pat’s initial foray into the yacht art design world--specifically for the four largest and most prestigious yacht companies around the globe. Instead, the motivation came about due to her desire to “be a stay at home mom and still provide an income for the family,” according to her. And being able to stay home with her children, she says, was “the love of my life."

Fortunately for her, the yacht companies would tell her the unique sizes of art needed, and she would go to work from home creating that special art product. This eventually led to her branching out to doing art shows a decade later.

Mary Pat Wallen’s true passion, however, is doing fine art, like the sculptures seen in the slideshow of photos above, which she began to create and show, growing her business as a result. So while the art she creates for the high-seas is also meticulously and beautifully created, Mary Pat Wallen needed to go deeper as an artist than merely blending in with the yacht’s overall d├ęcor.

Her sculptures, therefore, provide the platform for her bold physical form of expression in art, allowing her to achieve her personal mission as an artist, which is to evoke deeper emotions in her art viewers. Mary Pat sums up in her Artist Statement what the finished products’ appearance means to her, saying it is her “own reflections of human struggles and the need to achieve balance.” And one look at any of her sculptures brings immediate realization that she has succeeded in her goal, because her art work mirrors life and the emotions it evokes.

One recent guest to her American Craft Council Show booth exhibit in Atlanta had the following to say about her work, which highlights her arts ability to also cross cultural boundaries.

What stood out to me was how you could not tell if her art was representative of the African-American, Asian, Caucasian or Hispanic community because there was no discernible means of detecting which race was being personified. And I liked that.”

Indeed, maybe Mary Pat Wallen missed her true calling, that of a diplomat, because the bronzes and other fine art sculptures she creates transcend such matters as gender, politics and the thorny issues of the day. And don't politicians wish they could do that?

Her elongated figures seem to point art lovers away from a focus on the outward physical appearances of others, too, with more of a focus on the internal person. Thus this fine art artist, who is represented by the Maria Elena Kravitz gallery, can attract all cultures, races and genders with her art. And that's a skill few artists can boast of having.

© Radell Smith

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