Pat Neal Artist Statement
As a youth I was impressed with the linear geometry of vertical cedar posts connected with parallel strands of barbed metal wire. To me it was an intrusive barricade that represented a contrived division of open space and mirrored the boundaries that can rob us of our dreams. It made me wonder what was on the other side. I titled this piece of farm sculpture, “A Fence.”
In a later work, I split rounds of logs into diamond shaped pieces, each as different as a snowflake, then crafted them into a horizontal mosaic that bespoke the primeval majesty of an ancient forest. I called this, “The Wood Pile.” The work received much acclaim before being accidentally burned and destroyed by culturally unenlightened family members who failed to appreciate the work of getting the art out or the art of getting out of work.
I was forced to experiment with other mediums. My next bit of art theatre was an indoor piece composed of a collection of rectangular bundles of dried grass, modeled into a monolith and held together with gravity that I called, “The Hay Stack.”
At some point I began my stump sculpture period, where I carved a series of stumps from living trees. Each of the stumps was also different like snowflakes and in their totality formed my shining masterpiece, “The Clearcut.”
It was only a matter of time before I began painting. Typically my first canvas was a courageous attempt at a mural of a herd of majestic mountain goats stampeding across Mount Olympus in a blizzard, done entirely in white.
Then I took photographs of my life on the river.Some of them have an ethereal mist-shrouded quality. That is because they were taken in the rain. Many fine cameras were destroyed in the creation of this exhibit. Sometimes cameras don't work even after you thaw them out. These pictures are snapshots of a love affair with the Olympic Peninsula.That’s the secret to my photography — location, location, location.