"Pat Martin Bates: Balancing on a Thread"
Patricia Bovey, "Pat Martin Bates: Balancing on a Thread," published by Frontenac House.
Pat Martin Bates: Balancing on a Thread
Patricia Bovey, Frontenac House
“I can’t remember a time when I did not have a pencil or crayon in my hand,” says Pat Martin Bates. “Whenever anything bothered me I could always turn inward to my art.” The opening quotation of this 192-page hardcover book by Patricia Bovey, director emeritus of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, introduces a charismatic and flamboyant artist, an alchemist who has brought together diverse ideas about art, history, mythology and spirituality during a career spanning more than 50 years.
The first printmaker to teach at the University of Victoria, PMB, as she is known to friends, is respected internationally for work that incorporates symbolism from various cultures, whether Greek mythology or the 13th-century Sufic poet Rumi. Light is a frequent element in her work, including the light boxes she used to display pierced prints, and Plexiglas sculptures that explore astronomical phenomena. “Steadfast in her individual visual vocabulary and principles, she has eschewed the shifting trends and fashions,” writes Bovey. “She has imbued her communities with art, high spirits and mystery.”
Born in Saint John, N.B., Bates studied art in Belgium, and was active in the community, serving on several national boards, including the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She retired from university teaching in 1992, but continues to work in her studio.