One does not hear often about an artist having a passion for tire treads, but Marilyn Pardee is fascinated by them. Not just tire treads, it turns out, but also small car parts found in junk yards that she says, she visits regularly.
“Tire tread marks have been my passion. During the 1970s and ‘80s I printed them on cloth and sold garment that made it into the LA rock’n roll scene,” she explained. Then she graduated to silk screening the patterns onto cloth and making mono-prints where she painstakingly painted in tire print patterns by hand. Around the year 2000 she got around to transferring them onto paper, a process she has stuck with and fine-tuned until the present. “It’s something quirky, not commercial,” she said.
She will show 20 examples of her latest collages made from tire prints on paper in a show she calls “Tire Punk”, opening on this month’s First Thursday Art Walk at 7-Degrees on Laguna Canyon Rd.
The show’s title plays to the Steam Punk movement which is in part inspired by technology and sociology before and during the Industrial Revolution but, in her case also by more modern car culture, she explained.
“The Steam Punk inspired frames with gears and motor ‘widgets’ was a natural fit with the large collages,” she said. She added that she had worked with Baja, CA metal artist Miguel Ayala for years, crediting him with taking her quirky ideas and creating something beautiful.
The pieces are large, measuring seven to nine feet in height, but can also be narrow, around 15 in. and heavy. “I mount silkscreened collages onto wood under plexiglass and put them into metal frames which I embellish with small, polished car parts that I picked up in junkyards,” she said. “I had to hold back my enthusiasm for the metal frames when they were getting too heavy for hanging.”
Laguna Beach fabric artist Olivia Bachelder arranged the show for her friend since Pardee lives in the vicinity of Rosarito Beach, Mex. “I think Marilynn Pardee’s work is important because she is working with the unseen elements of the essential automobile that dominates our culture…. She chooses tires from a specific make of car, then inks them with full hard color, and rolls them across the painting plane. Other elements make up the composition as a whole, but you cant miss seeing the mark-making of modern transport,” wrote Bachelder via e-mail.
Lately Pardee has returned to working on fabric, still fascinated with tire marks which she transposes onto a heavier version of cheesecloth and has no qualms about deploying air compressors into designs that tend to include at least a smidgen of red.
“I always include a red dot on my collages – small or large. Its shape signifies the wheel, and the red color allows the eyes to rest while the activity surrounds it,” she wrote.
She plans to be at the shows opening between 6 and 9 p.m, she said. It will be up through Oct. 30.