Camille Patha, Issue 9

Camille Patha

 Union, a painting by Camille Patha

Glimpse: a painting by Camille Patha


Seattle area artist Camille Patha graces TLR’s cover for the second time, with her 2016 composition, Black Study for Grid Series (24x21).

The following text is from the introduction to Camille Patha, Geography of Desire, by Matthew Kangas:

The art of Seattle born painter Camille Patha is art of illusion, transformation, social commitment, and material exploration. Over the past forty years, she has both followed and anticipated contemporary art styles, all in the pursuit of her own division. Her studies at the School of Art at the University of Washington prepared her well for her long career as a professional exhibiting artist who has reflected on doing cultural trends and anticipated others.

Critical commentary, however, has for the most part failed to situate Patha in the context of Pacific Northwest American art history. Too young to be an original abstract expressionist she later adapted gestural abstraction as a culminating studio practice. Too late to be a 1930s Dalian Surrealist, she instead caught up with the Magic Realism, or Neo-Romantic Surrealism, of the 1940s—Americas homespun response to European Surrealism—and crafted her own 1960s West Coast hybrid version to suit her point of view.

Just as Dali’s landscapes all begin and end at Port Lligat, so Patha’s backdrop of snowcapped mountain peaks and expenses of salt water bay reflects the view from her studio in Normandy Park, south of Seattle, on a cliff overlooking the alternately churning and glistening Puget Sound.

All of her shifts and repositioning’s as an artist have been ignited and channeled in her Normandy Park home. The landscape, the female figure, the symbol, the shape, the contour, and, ultimately, the painterly gesture have occurred in the same room, a seven-hundred-square-foot studio home designed by award-winning architect Ralph D. Anderson in 1971.

A sense of place, then, as well as a sense of identity—female identity at its most highly symbolized and articulated—and the unexpected turns of an imagination attuned to the subconscious, dreamworld irrationality of Surrealism’s darker side infuse Patha’s work.

Patha, dark? A longer look at her art elicits a far more varied range of content and concept, beyond the blazing horizons, playful valleys, and sun-filled inlets depicted on her canvases. Indeed, the toxic sunsets and ominously vulnerable shore birds seem an equally weighted aspect of her imagery.

An extensive variety of Patha’s work, a biography, videos, and exhibition information is available on her web site, at