Patricia Orpilla is a visual artist and writer who works primarily with site-specific painting and sculpture. She holds a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Art Institute with a double major in Painting and Creative Writing. Her work explores a range of elements from light, surface, architecture and the psychological experiences that these elements can represent. Having a strong foundation of research fuels both her written and visual language and how history is represented through these media. Her work has been shown at Kiosk Gallery, Front/Space, Beggar's Table, Vulpes Bastille, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Strata Architecture, H&R Block Artspace, and AICAD studios in Brooklyn, NY.
Her recent pursuits include a 2-year long collaboration with animator, Daniel Chase, which culminated most recently into a show called Resonant Frequency: “I” As Numerous Shifts at Front/Space, where she was given the ability to interact with intentional light and movement in the animations. She had a solo exhibition, titled Pillars, at Kiosk Gallery where she exhibited sculptural paintings. She is currently Academic Support and Advisor at the Kansas City Art Institute and a Senior Editor & Writer at Informality. She provides private lessons to youth and high school students and teaches with Continuing Education at KCAI where she was previously Enrollment Coordinator. She has a studio at the Hobbs Building in the West Bottoms, and is a previous resident of the Drugstore Studios, a competitive studio space where she was juried in and granted a free studio in 2018. She currently lives and works in Kansas City, MO.
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I’m an interdisciplinary artist who explores trauma and desire as memories that affect present decision-making. I use architectural phenomena, historical narrative, and semiotics as references for my visual work -- the way a shadow might represent the past or “the long bag we drag behind us” as described in The Human Shadow, or the imagistic lineage recording the search for precision of time with sundials mapping positions of the sun as archived in Linda Hall Library's On Time: The Quest for Precision.
I create site-specific paintings in response to observable architectural elements, in that my pieces intend to adapt and simultaneously call attention to the ever-shifting phenomena that space and light create. I view architecture and die-cuts as modular impressions of the body; first-person frames such as windows, doors, corners, corridors, and light serve as references for my work. In this sense, my paintings hover between installation and surface. My visual language stems from my interest in questioning the canons embedded in painting. I believe in the breadth of painting and the ways line (language) and color (time) are indicative of past experience reflected in the present. I use elements such as shadow, light, movement, composition, and scale to build non-fictive spaces as attempts to create autobiographical, spatial poetry creating a perceptual and psychological exchange.
I believe in painting as a psychological history, traceable in economy from its relation to class and through a translation of media, a record formed through polysemy. For this reason, it is important to expand the web of history through research that a painting platform provides and an interdisciplinary practice draws upon. My foundation of research is related to historical myth within the media of film, fiber, and painting, and linguistic record of feminine ritual reflected in oral tradition and poetry. My current interests in research is how oral tradition and sewing terms from fairytales funnel their way into a contemporary language of women. For example, the earliest use of the term embroidery was by poet John Gower, describing his wife’s day in 1393. Women’s voices have long been described historically in third-person, therefore baffled by means of authorship. Since history is constantly seeking precision, thus in flux and unfixed, ultimately art is being uncovered as existing in a variety of facets. I believe the current fragmentation is due to a lack of representation of marginalized groups.
My explorations are a result of the implications of being raised in a household with a mother who immigrated from the Philippines and an estranged evangelical Midwestern father, and later being ruled homeless by the public school district at age 17. I have come to understand the supports in my work analyze the household as a compositional microcosm for iconoclasm, the deconstruction of masculine signifiers and reassemblage a result of reconciling cultural and economic disparity.