Kara Patrowicz (neé Waxman) is a visual artist exploring the intersection of fibers, painting and drawing. She has exhibited in Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Ireland, and recently in Switzerland through the Art in Embassies program. She has been a Fulbright Grant recipient in Painting to Ireland, and a 2019 nominee for the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. She has taught art courses at UMass Lowell and the Brookline Arts Center and worked as an Artist-in-Residence at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Patrowicz earned her B.F.A. (Painting) from Boston University, Post-Baccalaureate (Studio Art) from Brandeis University, and M.F.A. (2-D Media) from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). She is a member of the Concord Center for the Visual Arts, ArtsWorcester and the Surface Design Association, and lives and works in Maynard, MA with her husband and young son.
I desire to interrupt the flood of present-day distractions with moments of reflection and solace. I love the process of slow-looking and developing layered, nuanced surfaces as a form of active contemplation. The restorative, embodying aspects of blending tactile fiber and paint materials are also central to my work.
Starting with wet-felting, weaving or vintage fabrics as a canvas, I build imagery that remains two-dimensional but textured, with a painterly touch. As I create, pieces call for combinations of different media, whether the immediacy of drawing, the tactility of wool and embroidery, or the fluidity of watercolor. At times I use antique materials, like kerchiefs from my grandmother, to engage in a collective memory of women who employed these textiles.
I strive to convey an authentic experience of beauty in daily life and evoke the tenderness and sacramental qualities of domestic and familial rituals. My artwork focuses on still life, room interiors and family scenes, typically on a small scale, to create intimate views into one’s interior life. Inspirations include the Nabis group and Mary Cassatt, Kaylan Buteyn's "Artist/Mother" podcast and embroidery artist Cecile Davidovici. My approach to art-making has also been shaped by the writings of Jacques Maritain, Thomas Merton and Flannery O'Connor on faith and art.
Through subjects like weathered chairs or fleeting moments of parenthood, my work hints at the interplay of absence and presence, memory and experience in fundamental human relationships.
Portrait of the Artist, 9 months pregnant
Courtesy of Jonathan Patrowicz
“It is the business of [art] to embody mystery through manners, and mystery is a great embarrassment to the modern mind...the mystery of our position on earth, and the manners are those conventions which, in the hands of the artist, reveal that central mystery.”