Meryl Pataky’s latest body of work, in short, is a physical meditation on the timeless spirituality of craft. This physical meditation is practiced in the form of creation, by taking materials and changing them to manifest a new object that is imbued with meaning. She finds this meaning by working with materials that provide resistance, forcing her to create a compromise between her will and reality, accepting that dichotomy within herself. In this process, she enters into a dialogue with creators that has existed for millennia.
Throughout history, this concept of craft has taken innumerable forms. From the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids, to the Pyramids of the Mayan, Toltec, and Aztec Empires, to the Freemasons of Medieval Europe, humans have attempted to gain a higher state of consciousness through the process of bending reality through the philosophical and protoscientific traditions of alchemy and magik. These somewhat forgotten practices address natural mysteries directly in their questioning, tying them closer to arts than conventional sciences. If magik is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will, then Pataky’s pursuit is magikal in nature.
The work exhibited also confronts perversions in the collective understanding of craft. In many of the aforementioned examples, most acutely the Freemasons Guild, the attainment of master status and even membership was limited to men. Pataky, being a woman, challenges this underlying assumption about womens’ competence by not only creating work and challenging herself, but also by asserting her position as Grandmaster, a title reserved for those who have devoted themselves wholeheartedly to their journey.
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