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Local artist on display at El Norteño


El Norteno Gallery and Patricia C. Coleman's Line, Angle, Fold exhibit will be part of the Gallery Walk now through Oct. 3. Haley Ward Buy Photos

Twenty-four original works by local artist Patricia Coleman adorn the room, giving it a light and color all its own.

The exhibit is an accumulation of Coleman’s most recent work — origami tessellations painted with acrylics and drawn on with thick Indian ink. The result is a multi-folded piece of brightly colored art, often crafted into parabolas or triangular points.

In one corner of the exhibit, a plaque sits next to a guest book with a description of the artist and a particularly relevant quote, which reads, “Even DNA is folded — you and I are born from folding.”

The words are artist Paul Jackson’s, and Coleman said they resonate with her personally.

“It’s true because, when you think about it, when we’re in the womb, we’re folded,” she said. “I think that every day we’re becoming something different because we’ve been affected by what’s come before.”

Coleman, a Washington, D.C. native, has been an artist since childhood, but her first professional exhibit was in 1974. Since then, she moved to Bloomington, where she’s created art for 32 years.

Two years ago this October, Coleman opened her own store, a candy shop for artistic trinkets like handmade notebooks, home-sewn clothes and meditation pillows. A box of Bloomington-inspired prints drawn by Coleman sits next to an earring tree full of her handmade jewelry.

She said people used to tell her that she should just find one craft and stick with it.
“My mind didn’t work like that,” she said.

Coleman said she’s never been one to stick with a certain form of art but rather a central idea.

“I tend to want to impart a really positive feeling to the viewer,” she said. “(I like) creating pieces that are comfortable to be with.”

Her current exhibit is a result of her work with painting and paper folding, which she has been working at since she became a mother. The work also represents a breath of fresh air for Coleman.

“I wanted to do something that I was scared to do and something that was going to express an aspect of myself that I’d been working on privately, secretly,” she said. “So I took the opportunity to use this exhibit to address those fears, realizing that fears are limitations that most of the time are artificial.”

Coleman’s exhibit is on display at El Norteño as a part of “Gallery Walk Bloomington,” a series of 11 art galleries in spaces downtown. People are free to walk in and explore any time of the year, according to Gallery Walk’s website, and six times a year there are special receptions featuring artists.

“I think it’s pretty amazing,” Coleman said of her current work, humble but proud of the display.

She said she hopes her own art inspires others to try their hand at creativity, as well.

“I want people to make things because that’s one of the beautiful things that we can do is be creative,” she said. “We can take an idea and then turn it into something that we can share with people. It doesn’t have to be like anybody else’s. Maybe somebody’s just really good at drawing apples, and I think that’s perfect.”

Follow reporter Anicka Slachta on Twitter @ajslachta.

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