Patricia Liverman’s Interview with Casa Marengo

Jun 9, 2015

P_LivermanArtist Patricia Liverman doesn’t so much apply paint in her work as she appropriates it. She peels paint from other canvasses, cuts or tears it further, then reassembles the pieces to create new works.

“By freeing the paint from the canvas, I am able to use it in many different ways and to further investigate its physical possibilities,” Liverman has said.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Liverman lives and teaches art in Pasadena. She will be the guest artist at Casa Marengo Studio for 2nd Saturday Gallery Night June 13 through July 7 in Highland Park. The gallery is located in the Avenue 50 Gallery Complex.




The artist spoke with Casa Marengo about her work:

CM: How would you describe your subject matter or the content of your work?

Liverman: My work is an investigation of paint as a physical material. I start with paint that is already dried that I’ve peeled off of the canvas. I like to try to push paint to do things outside of its usual purpose, by bending, tearing, cutting, stacking it. I’m always looking for new ways to use it. Right now I’m interested in making things that look furry or spiky—touchable in some way.

CM: Does personal history make its way into your work?

Liverman: I don’t specifically look for ways to bring my history or myself into my work. I think anything we make, anything we’re attracted to, has roots in our experience and is informed by our point of view. So while I don’t want to make personal works, they can’t help but have a lot of me in them. I’m really interested in contradictions though, so in that sense I don’t mind that the answer is both no and yes.

CM: How did you become an artist?

Liverman: I decided that I would pursue art when I was in junior high school, where I was continually getting in trouble for drawing in class. I realized that an art degree was the only way I would make it through college. I obtained a BFA in North Carolina from East Carolina University, where I first became involved in painting. However, I originally focused my efforts on environmental design in the hopes of one day being employable. A few years later, after deciding that job security was probably overrated, I obtained an MFA in painting from Cal State Los Angeles.


Accumulation 6 (2012), peeled paint on canvas, 24" x 48"

Accumulation 6 (2012), peeled paint on canvas, 24″ x 48″


CM: What are you presently inspired by—are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?

Liverman: I am inspired visually by things that happen randomly, without intention, like splatters on the road, scrapes on a wall… so then I’m faced with the challenge of how to bring some of that randomness into a purposeful thing that I am making. I like reading about science and history, listening to music. I think everything can be fuel.

CM: Is there something you are currently working on, or are excited about starting that you can tell us about?

Liverman: After working on several large pieces, being the guest artist at Casa Marengo got me into doing small works again and I’m really interested in making more small pieces. They always seem to creep up in size, but I’m excited about the potential of small right now.

CM: What does having a physical space to make art in mean for your process, and how do you make your space work for you?

Liverman: Space is so important! Every new space I’ve worked in has brought about a shift in the way I work. I’m pretty adaptable—but I do have some minimum space requirements because a lot of my work is large. One of the reasons I’ve lived and worked in Pasadena for as long as I have is that I’ve been able to find good space.


Stacked Painting 3 (2008), peeled paint on wood, 5" x 5" x 3"

Stacked Painting 3 (2008), peeled paint on wood, 5″ x 5″ x 3″


CM: What do you like to do when you’re not creating?

Liverman: Walking, finding new places to eat, seeing shows, quality time with family and friends. I love camping and road trips; travel is always good. I like being in the studio though, so I work a lot.

CN: How do you navigate the art world?

Liverman: Hmmm… I’m not sure that I really do. I go to see shows and galleries I’m interested in; I try to make plans with people to get out and see things, but I’m not a really great networker. I’m still working on that one.

CM: As an artist, what do you think about living and working in Pasadena?

Liverman: Pasadena has a really rich art history, which was one of the first things I discovered when I moved here in 1992. That was one of the things that really excited me about being here. Pasadena has been a great place to live and work, easy to find space, easy to meet people. I honestly didn’t expect that it would become my long-term home, but it has.


Liverman’s work is on exhibit at Casa Marengo, June 13th-July 7th.

Casa Marengo Studio, 131 Avenue 50, Highland Park/Pasadena. For more information, go to CasamarengoStudio.

Photos by Skye Moorhead.


NELA 2nd Saturday Gallery Night, June 13th, begins at 7 p.m., York Blvd., Highland Park.



 Photos by Skye Moorhead




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