Tricia Gillman (born 1951) is an artist who clearly loves paint and the games, both visual and philosophical, she can play with it.
Gillman uses the language of husbandry to describe her current working practice, referring to the canvas as a place where she can plant things and then dig them up and move them. She also refers to the process of filling up the canvas and emptying it out, as imagery grows dense and then spare, which sounds a little like breathing, or the cycle of seasons in a garden. This organic referencing is appropriate for an artist who likes to use leaves and trees, insects, birds and animals as motifs.
Although she is an abstract painter, Gillman will not hesitate to employ figurative imagery in her paintings, principally because she finds the resulting discomfort between the two languages immensely stimulating. Aside from references to the natural world, Gillman has also been raiding the imagery of ancient Egypt (an enthusiasm sparked by visiting the country), and these canvases are staffed with ideographs, hierophants and details from Assyrian reliefs.
These fragments rub shoulders with part of a pattern from a William Morris wallpaper or an improvised stencil, and are then orchestrated with great skill, together with the blots, pours, spatters and various other abstract skirmishes which for her make up a typical painting. Daring to be decorative, through the process of consolidation Tricia Gillman translates her work to an altogether higher plane of aesthetic achievement.