Power plant: Patrizia Imossi turns a new leaf on art.


Artist and art teacher Patrizia ‘Pat’ Imossi is participating in the collective exhibition ‘Easterly Winds’, to be held in very early 2019 at the Palacio de la Diputación Provincial de Cadiz and featuring a selection of Gibraltarian artists. She will showcase her Botanical Series, described as her ‘exploration of plants’.

Patrizia Imossi, self portrait

“For this project I have collected a variety of plant samples, which I have either sliced or pressed in order to make slides viewable under a microscope, revealing the different types and layers of cells,” Patrizia explains. “Thanks to these observations, I’ve created an abstraction of each slide. Each study has been created on large watercolour paper, making use of acrylic inks, watercolour, pencil, marker and oil pastels.”

Patrizia is an accomplished and eclectic artist and illustrator with a penchant for scouting the beauty of textures in leaves and vegetables, abstracting their close-ups into pattern and colour. Down this road, she recently contributed to the Calentita Press magazine, with yummy sketches scattered all over the pages of the culinary street fest’s funky newsletter.

On the subtle difference between fine artist and illustrator she contributes with her personally balanced stance: “I have spent all five years of my further education studying visual art and, despite completing my bachelor degree in illustration, I wouldn’t necessarily say I have chosen illustration drawing as my practice. I really enjoy experimenting and exploring a range of possibilities and do not like to identify myself with one or the other exclusively.”

She also participated in a collective held at Space 92 as part of the Bright Med Festival and the Gibraltar World Music Festival organised by Ian and Fatosh Delgado. The project involved members of the young artists’ association Kitchen Studios, an initiative she founded with Christopher Tavares and Stefano Blanca Sciacaluga, with the support of local art guru Alan Perez.

The artists responded individually, but Patrizia opted for a collaborative piece: “I wrote an art brief inviting artists to explore and investigate the themes of ‘identity’, and released it internationally through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. I selected twenty-seven responses, and included one of my own. The catalogue connected artists from a place without borders and ideological barriers, and brought together international artists. I have put together an online book, which may be viewed on my website, where all the contributing artists are named, and their websites and contact details are listed.”

Kitchen Studios organise regular alternative art exhibitions at the quaint venue of The Kasbar, a vegan eatery nestled in Castle Street. Their latest ‘pop-up’ flash Friday night show spilled onto the iconic Calle Comedia’s steps and the roundabout tree, crowned for a few hours by Patrizia’s impressive installation ‘Abre Los Ojos’, created together with art photographer Lizanne Figueras.

The installation comprised a number of oversized eyes and one bright, red mouth printed on a rigid support, placed around the tree and visible as from Cornwall’s Parade. “The inquisitive eyes are made from enlarged black and white photographs we took of our own eyes,” Pat explains. “They are of varying sizes and placed with the largest at the forefront, while others were scattered unevenly from the tree, conveying a sense of monumental force. We initially intended to leave the installation there, but we decided that we would like to find a suitable location to place it, hopefully for a longer time.”

As an illustrator and writer, Patrizia is working on a children’s book titled Tartalo, inspired by Basque mythology: “This is an area of interest for me, as my grandmother was Basque. Material on this subject is scarce, yet I gathered relevant information from books, conversations with my relatives, interviews, online research, and family photo albums. Furthermore I studied ancient Basque folklore, which mainly consists of pagan spirits, monsters, witches and subterranean animals.”

Tartalo is the common or perhaps proper name for a primitive giant who lives in caves and feeds on sheep and sometimes lost travellers, bearing striking similarities with Homeric Cyclopes. However, Patrizia reinvented him through her original filter for a short story that carries echoes of the biblical episode of Jonah, and turns him into a positive hero of solitude.

She admits the book to be quite dark and not necessarily aimed at children exclusively, but she also praises its naïve and surrealistic edge, with a valuable lesson to learn about prejudicial reputation, diversity and loneliness. Although the text is not finalised yet, the illustrated layout can be viewed online at patimossi.com, where her best artwork is published.

She is currently working on her Ripples, a multimedia project about the details in nature, from shadows to wood grain to cloud formations: “I am exploring water, feeling, movement and layers. A ripple is not just a small wave or slight movement, a ripple is mainly a feeling which is slight, but still noticed. I explore concepts with a variety of materials. My most laborious piece is made from multiple layers of resin. On each layer a different stroke or mark has been created or placed to make the larger image.”

Busy with her botanical series, Patrizia declares herself an outdoorsy person in love with wildlife: “I’m attracted to nature and draw a lot of my inspiration from its endless source of energy. I enjoy observing arrangements in colour, pattern and textures and use these to create dictionaries of marks and colour palettes. My mixed media pieces are continuous abstract narrations of what I observe and experience outside of my studio.”

One thing is sure: since going through her magnifying glass, onion, beetroot and lettuce have never looked fresher!