Nov 04 2013
Cross Pollination, Larry Schulte and Patricia Malarcher
Excerpts from an interview with Larry Schulte, from Surface Design Journal, 2011
“Are they weavings? Are they paintings?” The answer in both cases is “yes”.
The process is quite simple. I paint two pieces of paper with acrylic paint, then cut them in strips and weave them together.
The more important part for me is the concept. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska, and early on recognized the ebb and flow of nature: the repetitive patterns of the seasons, planting, harvesting, birth and death. The patterns of nature are an important part of my work.
I was a mathematician before I started making art. The beauty of mathematical patterns is also an important part of my work. All of these woven painted paper pieces are based on the Fibonacci sequence. The numbers in that sequence are 1,1,2,3,5,8,13…where the next number is the sum of the two previous numbers.
These numbers are found throughout the structures of nature, in everything that is spiral: sea shells, pinecones, phyllotaxis of plants. So it was a natural fit for me, a combination of a beautiful mathematical sequence with a basic structure of nature.
The exhibit also includes Mr. Schulte’s woven photographs and screen prints which are overlapping screens of images and patterns that are not particularly related – but in the process of overlapping they become integral to each other.
“I liken it to the world we live in, where we are bombarded with all kinds of information, that we have to order to make some kind of sense.
Some of the prints were made from computer language gobbledygook that printed when I accidently sent a file to be printed to the wrong computer.”
Excerpts from an interview with Patricia Malarcher by Harry Naar, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Rider College
Harry Naar: How do you begin a work? Do you have a specific idea in mind or does the work evolve as you spend more time on it?
Patricia Malarcher: Occasionally, I work from a sketch of a fully-formed idea. But often I start by making modular elements, setting out with some sort of game rules based on what I’m drawn to explore at a given time. These become a set of flexible building blocks, which I then move around to see what they do in combination. When an idea begins to evolve, I usually sketch until I find the best resolution. Then I make whatever other pieces are needed to complete the work.
Harry Naar: In many of your pieces, you work from a basic geometric grid design. How do you arrive at your compositions and how important a role does math play in your overall concepts?
Patricia Malarcher: I started working with grids in a period when I had fragmented time and limited space. Working in modular units allowed me to first expand the scale of my work incrementally. At first I was influenced by the idea of modular elements in architecture; later I realized that my reasons for choosing this approach, as well as the “look” of my work, were allied to quilt design. As I learned more about cultural history, I realized that geometric design, much of which is rooted in textile construction, is a universal visual language.
I don’t work with mathematics as numbers, but my basic module has been a 12” square; I like the number 12 because it can be divided into many ways.