Pat Passlof: The Brush Is the Finger of the Brain is a survey exhibition of the paintings of Pat Passlof (1928-2011), featuring an accompanying catalogue supported by the Thoma Foundation. Spanning a period of six decades, the exhibition is organized by independent curator and critic Karen Wilkin and is accompanied by a full color catalogue featuring essays by Wilkin and Mark di Suvero.
Pat Passlof: The Brush Is the Finger of the Brain features selections from the artist’s early abstract expressionist paintings, emerging from her time at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1948, where she studied with Willem de Kooning who became her good friend and taught her privately. Her works of the 50s became looser and more gestural, a direction that intensified through the early 80s. Though the artist stated that narrative was a distraction and had no place in painting, in the mid-80s Passlof began to incorporate figurative representations, often landscapes populated with images of centaurs, nymphs and horses.
Allusions to the grid and geometry also emerged through repetition, patterns and marks in her large compositions. Passlof’s varied works defy easy categorization, with a palette that ranged from dark colors and earth tones to soft pastel, but all are connected through her ability to capture the spontaneity and sensuousness of paint through her intuitive, physically vigorous, and eloquent brush marks.