Artist Lompoc Brings Passionate Patchwork Paintings to Cypress Gallery | Art

The following article was published on September 7, 2022 in the Santa Maria Sun – Volume 23, Number 28 [ Submit a Story ]

The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 23, Number 28

Artist Lompoc Brings Passionate Patchwork Paintings to Cypress Gallery

By CALEB WISEBLOOD

Easter usually conjures up images of happy eggs, fluffy bunnies, and marshmallow Peeps. But the closest thing viewers will find to spring icons in Dark skies at Easteran oil painting of the local Lompoc Elizabeth Monks Hackis a strange grouping of moonlit clouds and a dark patch of calla lilies.

SKY HIGH
Lompoc-based artist Elizabeth Monks Hack depicts her home under an “ominous dark sky”, she described, in Dark Sky at Easter, a patchwork painting she completed in spring 2020.
IMAGE COURTESY BY ELIZABETH MONKS HACK

Hack described the patchwork piece, made up of several canvas fragments sewn together, as his jumping off point to “a new realm of creativity.” And the dark title of the painting refers to a particular Easter Sunday, she revealed via email.

“I painted it during the dark days of COVID, spring 2020,” Hack said. “I sewed large and small pieces of canvas together and waited for the ideas to materialize.”

Give piecework a chance
The Lompoc Valley Art Association presents Piecework: An Exhibition of Patchwork Paintings, featuring local artist Elizabeth Monks Hack, which will run through Sunday, September 25 at the Cypress Gallery, located at 119 E. Cypress Ave., Lompoc. The gallery is hosting a special reception to celebrate the exhibition on Sunday, September 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. Visit lompocart.org for more information. To learn more about Hack’s works, visit elizabethmonkshack.com.

The titular segment of the painting captures “a threatening dark sky in the east, but with a silver lining in the hidden sun”, while another segment depicts a house, which Hack based on his own house, with a garden of lilies, she said.

Hack set out to illustrate the themes of dusk, dawn and the endearing cycles of the two in another corner of the painting – just one of many works by the artist currently on display at the Cypress Gallery in Lompoc.

Piecework: An exhibition of patchwork paintings debuted at the gallery earlier this month and is set to remain on display until September 25. The solo exhibition features a collection of Hack’s oils and mixed media created over the past few years, in order to demonstrate the evolution of his artistic style.

“My artwork in the early years was abstract. It referred to fabric and thread, and included sewn or embroidered elements,” Hack said. “When I started painting ‘realistically,’ my style was loose, big, and a bit rough around the edges.”


WINDOW FRAME
Elizabeth Monks Hack often combines elements of contemporary realism and abstract imagery in her patchwork paintings, including North Window.
IMAGE COURTESY BY ELIZABETH MONKS HACK

Hack’s stitched canvas pieces with abstract elements date back to the late 1980s, while her love of fabrics and sewing in general began during her childhood.

“I’ve sewn clothes since I was a young girl and have always enjoyed the shapes and potential of flat-patterned pieces,” said Hack, whose passion hasn’t waned with adulthood. “I was a studio art student in college, but in my senior year I drifted into the costume department and designed costumes for a play.”


ROOM WITH A VIEW
Third Room is one of many patchwork paintings currently on display at Cypress Gallery in Lompoc, as part of artist Elizabeth Monks Hack’s solo exhibition, Piecework.
IMAGE COURTESY BY ELIZABETH MONKS HACK

Shortly after graduating from UC Irvine, Hack started her own successful clothing business. Although she no longer works in the fashion industry, Hack has retained her love of tailoring. Early in his foray into stitched canvas artwork, Hack said it was “natural for me to see the creative potential in leftover canvas and fabric”.

Her patchwork art process usually begins with simply fashioning different pieces of canvas together, long before the local artist decides what kinds of subjects she wants to paint.

“For most of the pieces in this exhibition, I first constructed the stitched compositions with abstract geometric shapes, then meditated on them until a figurative composition came to light,” said Hack, who referred to Dark skies at Easter as an example of his process. “Once I saw the shape of my house in the composition, I saw the whole room.”

Two of Hack’s favorite artists are abstract expressionist Richard Diebenkorn and iconic genre painter Johannes Vermeer, both of whom she admires for the way they depict forms and planes. Their art makes his heart beat,” Hack said, and constantly inspires his own paintings.

“A permanent consideration for me when composing an artwork is the contrast between the three-dimensional form and the flat plane,” the Lompoc local said. “When I look at my old sketchbooks, and indeed most of my paintings, flat planes and geometric shapes figure prominently.”

Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood takes shape at [email protected]

Christopher S. Washington