Andrea Packard Fine Art
Collage, community, and fabric
For the past 20 years, I have incorporated fabric into my collage art works in order to enhance compelling images, patterns and textures. As a devoted member of a quilting group for nearly 30 years, I have been fascinated with the way fabric implicitly represents the values and resourcefulness of communities. I admire the expressive abstract quilts made by Gee’s Bend, Alabama artists such as Loretta Pettway. Growing up appreciating my great grandmother’s Victorian crazy quilt, I noticed how its irregular shapes echoed the patterns made by intersecting tree branches in the nearby woods. I am inspired by repurposed materials, be they discarded woodcut prints, outgrown clothing, or handwoven scarves, and I pay attention to the way materials can convey specific cultural associations. Because we wear fabric every day, we have a visceral response to it and intuitively grasp whether it is machined or hand-made, frivolous or frugal, new or antique. Many of the materials I use were given to me by other artists, educators, close friends, and family members. Synthesizing “high” and “low,” past and present, self with community, I hope to provide journeys of empathy, memory, and reconnection.
Empathy and desire
Inseparable, paradoxical landscapes
In a world dominated by mass-produced imagery, I am fascinated by art that is multi-layered and complex. The most inspiring art—and the aesthetic I aspire to—resists memorization and rewards extended study. I take a painterly approach to collage processes and search for the kind of harmony that can only be achieved through experiencing and working through disruption or dislocation. That process feels most true to lived experience and the malleability of perception. I am interested in capturing the appearance of nature, but I also want to explore landscape as an imaginative and emotional terrain—the two realities are inextricable, yet sometimes contradictory. To preserve nature, and the interior spaces they provide within, we must first visualize and affirm our empathy for the world. My art work is not about the destruction of the landscape so much as the beauty and diversity I want to preserve.
Many of my paintings are inspired by the tangled growth and intimacy of the New England and Mid-Atlantic woods. My occasional figure groups or domestic scenes further explore the subjective, layered, and contradictory elements that shape relationships and identity.
My images start with a compelling idea or gesture but they are not preconceived. I build up and remove layers of paint or collage over days, weeks, months, and even years. I work experimentally in order to discover unexpectedly evocative relationships and surfaces. Fragments of woodcuts, monoprints, drawings, and fabric often form the basis of new compositions.
In addition to the New England and Pennsylvania woodlands, I've spent many summers exploring the managed wetlands of Chincoteague, Virginia. It is a beautiful place that provides us with a precious wildlife habitat, yet reminds us that so much of what we experience as "nature" has been dramatically reordered through human interventions.
Andrea Packard received a BA with honors in English and Art History from Swarthmore College in 1985. She went on to graduate from the Certificate Program of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and received an MFA from American University in 1994. During the past twenty years, she has shown her paintings, prints, and sculptures in more than fifty exhibitions nationally. Recently, her has been featured in solo exhibitions at Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA; The Painting Center, New York, NY; and The Philadelphia International Airport. Invitational and juried exhibitions include Summer Cut, at Valley House Gallery, Texas; Canopy, at Lohin Geduld Gallery, New York, NY; Eons Beyond the Rib, at Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia; Temple of Flora, at Eagle Hill Institute, Steuben, Maine; and Pennsylvania Impressionism and Landscape, at Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA.
Packard has won numerous awards for her work, including Swarthmore College's Oak Leaf award, Flack Achievement award, and Lockwood Fellowship; the American University's Glassman and Sacknoff Awards; the Pennsylvania Academy's Cresson Traveling Scholarship; and residency fellowships from the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, St. Mary’s College, Chester Springs Studio, and the Vermont Studio Center.
Her work is included in varied permanent collections including the Woodmere Art Museum, the Mann Center for the Arts, Philadelphia; Arco Inc.; Rohm and Haas, Inc.; The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia; Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville, AR; and numerous private collections.
Since 1995, Packard’s art has been informed by her work as director and curator for the List Gallery, Swarthmore College. She has written more than 35 curatorial essays on diverse artists including William Daley, Michael Olszewski, Alisson Saar, Buzz Spector, Rackstraw Downes, Stanley Lewis, Emmet Gowin, Orit Hofshi, Tom Uttech, and Lois Dodd. She has also served as an art juror, panelist, curator, lecturer, and instructor at varied institutions including the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, NY; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Dartmouth College, and Oglethorpe University Museum, Atlanta.