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Patricia Lyons Stroud: Woodworks
Patricia Lyons Stroud

FRESNO, CA.- The Fresno Art Museum presents Patricia Lyons Stroud: Woodworks. Using a vocabulary of simple, reductive forms to create abstracted sculptures referencing elements of nature and structures found within the human body, Patricia Lyons Stroud has produced a body of work meticulously crafted from wood, cement and sand, that often incorporates beeswax as patina. Tending to work in series, Stroud will focus on a theme allowing the work itself to lead her on an investigation that concludes when the work no longer offers either interestor surprise. This focus may dwell on the conceptual idea of “bundles,” then “houses,” leading to “nests” and onto “patterns” or the use of “words” as sculptural form. Interlaced fingers, ribs and spines emerge from blocks of wood –these are sculptures that are primal in their simplicity but present Stroud’s uncanny understanding of the complexity of three-dimensional form. Using nature as touchstone, Stroud achieves a pureness of form that clearly reveals a piercing intellect. The titles of each work reflect both the truth and complexity of concept that has been achieved through formal simplification and the Brancusi-like craftsmanship that earmarks Stroud’s oeuvre.

Interlocking themes of rhythm, poetry, repetition and structure act as Stroud’s vocabulary referencing the organic forms that have been transformed into strong, often small sculptural works of physical presence. Both process and materials are crucial to this essentially abstract work that frequently uses organic forms as the leit motïf. An extensive knowledge of nature and biology are paired with an understanding of art history – these elements are transformed into work possessing a sense of duality that combines an organic feeling with Minimalist ideas. Perfectly crafted, Stroud’s sculptures possess an elegant and enigmatic quality that is both sophisticated and contemporary. The apparent simplicity of the wood works are complemented by the intricacy of the cement and sand cast sculptures. Stroud’s art works begin in the natural world allowing an exploration of fundamental gesture and the silence of slow growth from rigid containment to the sense of flow and surging freedom. Revealing meaning in the commonplace her work affirms the profound beauty of the inconsequential. Carvings unmask material and contradictions become evident in the organic shapes that take on the forms of both the known and the unknown.

These life questionings for meaning harken back to Stroud’s years as a young mother and art student – and to the direct questing for substance instilled by another San Francisco artist and teacher of great insight. After looking closely at Stroud’s earlier paintings completed during the years of studio classes at art schools, Mr. Nong challenged her to paint “lines” with Sumi ink and brush, Stroud asked “horizontal or vertical?“ After hours of painting horizontal lines she was directed to paint vertical lines. After the painting of many lines, Nong asked “Which of your lines do you like best?” And again, much later, his question was “Why do you like the lines you have chosen?” Realizing that the lines chosen were vertical ones, Stroud began to see her lines as trees, that then became perceived as a that led to an idea of hills, that then was seen as forms of sleeping people who ultimately became conceptualized as three-dimensional form. Nong had given Stroud as a means to extend the techniques of art school and the realization that her search was for that could only be realized through expression as a sculptor.

Born in Liverpool, England, she and her family endured the World War II nightly bombings of that city by the Nazi’ – an essay entitled “The Shelter” that accompanied the 1999 exhibition “Sculpture and Word-Works” presented at Triangle Gallery is composed from Stroud’s school-girl insights and observations of those early years. Stroud studied at the Liverpool School of Art where she earned her diploma in 1945. After immigration to the United States she studied at the San Francisco Art Institute graduating with a MFA in 1985. Represented by Triangle Gallery of San Francisco since 1989, owner/director Jack Van Hiele has featured Stroud in five solo exhibitions. Her work has been shown extensively in California and include one-person shows at the Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael; the Richmond Art Center; the Berkeley Art Center; Pro Arts, Oakland; and by the San Francisco Arts Commission at Fort Mason. Stroud’s work, received a Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Acquisition Award as exhibited in The 6th International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition of 1997.

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