It begins with actual pages from the New York Times. “My process consists of blocking out most of the photograph and text with a 9B graphite pencil. The resulting page looks like graphite-leaf with the untouched image embossed on the surface. The content of the news story is recontextualized and transformed.”
That is how Francesca Pastine, a part-time art instructor at Diablo Valley College, partly explains her “Iraqi Casualty Series,” an art exhibit that will be shown as part of a group exhibit, “The Art of Democracy: War and Empire,” curated by Art Hazelwood, DeWitt Cheng, and Anne Brodzky September 4 - November 4 at the Meridian Gallery (535 Powell Street) in San Francisco. Pastine said the exhibit “will be quite fantastic and includes well-known ‘political’ artists such as Enrique Chagoya, Rigo 23, William T. Wiley, Gee Vaucher, and Sandow Birk.”
Work from her Iraqi Casualty Series also will be shown as a solo exhibit at the University of Arkansas in October.
About her style, Pastine continues, “Through altering the pages of the Times, a cultural icon, I am able to shift and control cultural output on my own terms. I also prompt viewers to embody the experience of objects that serve as carriers of information.
“The physicality of the page, achieved through the layering of the graphite, is intended to focus attention on specific content. The time-intensive process I use serves as a penance to my own impotence and incongruity of the insurmountable geopolitical forces that confront me daily through the text and images in my morning newspaper. Through this process, I hope to shake loose the shrugging indifference perpetrated through the disconnect of lived experience and disembodied information.”
Pastine will be showing selections from her ArtForum Series at the CCA Faculty Exhibition at the Oliver Art Center (5275 Broadway) in Oakland beginning Sept. 3, and at SFMOMA Artists Gallery, March 18 - April 24, 2009.
“In this (ArtForum) series, I make use of the glossy, oddly square format of the ArtForum magazine,” Pastine said. “ I take my cue from the cover as to how I choose to reorganize the magazine, and I view it as an archaeological process. I remake the magazine by slashing into it, digging through it, and pulling out the pieces that ultimately drape through the cover. The process keeps the magazine intact;. . . I merely change the form of the magazine.”
Pastine has been teaching at DVC since fall of 2006. “I generally teach a foundation course, Art 105- Drawing, Design and Color Theory, but this term I am teaching figure drawing (Art 107/108),” she said. “My teaching philosophy is to offer students exposure to all aspects of visual art, including extensive image presentations, critical writings, class critiques, and gallery and museum visits. I endeavor to establish a firm technical foundation while cultivating an environment for exploration as students gain more confidence in their visual literacy.”