AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Patrizia Galati

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a mixed-media work made by Patrizia Galati from West Windsor Plainsboro High School South in West Windsor, New Jersey.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a mixed-media work made by Patrizia Galati from West Windsor Plainsboro High School South in West Windsor, New Jersey.

canvas with spidery forms created using fibrous materials, like yarn and thread

Here’s Patrizia’s statement on the work:

"One of the main things that has always attracted me to art is the very tactile quality of it all. Ever since I was young, I've always been a very hands-on tactile learner and just human being, and I tend to collect things. I'm very much an observer, and I like to experiment and see how things react or how different things around me and my environment or in nature may look and how I can reflect those into my art pieces. Art is a very therapeutic outlet for me.

"I tend to use a lot of different mediums and experiment with them and see the different outcomes in composition. I don't really like to plan out my pieces too much because I tend to get really frustrated when my pieces don't necessarily turn out like my sketches, and that's always been something that I didn't like about the traditional tract in art is a lot of the times you need to like make your sketch before you make your painting. But the way that I've always interacted with art has just been very freely and playfully, and I like to just mix up all the things that intrigue me and what if I see patterns or textures or outcomes that I like I'll repeat those. I really like to sort of rip apart my canvases. I'm really drawn to raw canvas just because of the movement of it and the way it adheres to different mediums and sinks in and creates these sort of spidery forms.

"I feel as though that has really been very consistent in my process is the use of raw canvas. Also just building my canvases—like finding wood and different bits around to create the structure itself—sort of sculpting in a way. I feel like the ways I can use the materials I find around me to then present my canvas is something that has also been very interesting to me to explore—especially throughout my time like in AP Studio. I did a lot of distressing and weaving and collecting little bits that I find. Sort of just found objects and compiling them into collage and you know, the repetition of prints and different mediums that I can just explore and just compile into one sort of piece and then take things that I like from one piece and combine them with things that I like in another piece. And just seeing how far I can really push my experimentation. I really like the use of hard edges, like wood and rusty nails against bright colors and fluffy moss in nature and different, sort of like fibrous textures."

Here's Patrizia's teacher Nathan Leventhal​'s statement on the work:

"Working with Patrizia (Toots) Galati was a pleasure. They have one of the most developed senses of productive play that I have ever encountered. If there’s an artistic super-power, it would be centered on their love of media (both traditional and unconventional) and possibilities offered through processes that is virtually limitless. They are enamored of textures and fall in love with the little details that they just layer upon layer.

"I give lots of leeway in interpreting assignments to invest students in the work on a very personal level. The AP class is really a group of independent studies that, in the best cases, become a team that supports/pushes each other. The students need to stop trying to be the artist they think they have to be and start being who they are. They are only competing with themselves. They need to focus on their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. The only real skill-building that is done is individually based on what the student wants to accomplish and what they need to know for that. They also keep open the idea of solving problems with alternatives that build on what they already know versus what’s 'expected.'

"Toots came naturally to this. They threw their work on the ground and trampled it. They left canvas in the rain for weeks to watch the developing fungus and mold patterns. They took a nosebleed and turned it onto a previous piece while investigating splatter patterns. While painting, they tip canvases and blow paint into new patterns. They balance constructive aspects with destructive elements too."

And here are a few other works from Patrizia’s portfolio:

floral pattern created using colorful materials stretched on canvas

Stretching, tension, distressing, building up, boxed in cube, mold, deteriorating. Sliced and stretched nylon, cutting up the canvas, view in the round, color layering.

mixed-media collage on raw canvas

Human figure in relation with materials, organic shape, building up, distressing, curves, hanging.

abstract image with swirled lines printed in dark purple paint on raw canvas

Emotional excretion/rant, rainbow mystic shape distressed facade, decomposition, curving lines.

abstract plant-like image created in greens and mauves on raw canvas

Black leathery whipping lines contrasted with watercolor forms, interaction of textures in nature.

Student statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.