Synchronizing with the energy of BHW Rise meeting in Nazare, I have decided to introduce a Portuguese artist. Isabel Pavao graciously invited me to her studio here in New York and what a delightful afternoon it was! The studio is spacious with many large windows for natural light and opens to a beautiful garden. Sometimes during her creative process, Isabel brings her pieces outside so they can directly soak in the light of the sun.
The blue image above is part of an ongoing Valentines series that includes a heart shape. Isabel has been creating them for 30 years during the months of January or February connecting with energy of Love floating in the air at that time. Isabel also likes to include words, this particular Valentine encourages us to “Do more what you, I, we like to do”.
Her current artwork is a series called Impressions. They are multi-layered, expressing the dance between geometric boundaries and the organic intricacies of Nature. A starting point can be a photograph of a rose, leaves, or sea coral. She photographs, reproduces, and draws on the images playing with their natural patterns. The geometric shapes, usually squares or rectangles are superimposed over or frame the natural shapes. It reminds me of the human persistence in creating structures and boundaries. The artwork challenges me to ask is the safety they provide an illusion and how much do we need them?
I asked Isabel which qualities of her Portuguese heritage influenced her life. She described a socially accepted sense of adventure that led her to first move to Paris and then to New York. At a young age she was reading about other cultures and learning foreign languages following a tradition of intercultural curiosity and respect. Family ties are important and she acknowledges her mother’s own personal achievements as well as the artistic opportunities she provided for Isabel. Portuguese have a deep love for poetry which Isabel shares. At this time she is collaborating in a book of art and poetry that I will write more about in the future.
It was a privilege to chat with Isabel Pavao, a courageous and playful female artist, a women of and for our times. For more information you may visit her website www.isabelpavao.com.