Arts & Culture

Vibrant, Never-Before-Seen Works of Late, Great Pacita Abad at MCAD

The show is co-curated by her nephew, contemporary artist Pio Abad.
IMAGE COURTESY PACITA ABAD ART ESTATE/ PUBLIC DOMAIN/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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The late, great Pacita Abad (1946-2004) was a highly prolific artist, and was believed to have produced over 4,500 artworks—many of them large-scale canvases—in her lifetime. She lived a peripatetic existence as well, visiting more than 50 countries on six continents, holding exhibits in many of them; as such, her creative output is spread all over the globe. For the first time, many of her never-before-seen works will be on display at a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila.

Born in Basco, Batanes, Abad initially wanted to become a lawyer. To this end, she earned a degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines in 1968 and enrolled in law school. In the tumultuous martial law period, her studies were cut short; instead she pursued an M.A. in Southeast Asian History in the United States. It’s somewhere at this point that she decided to become an artist. After studying at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Art Students League of New York in the mid-1970s, Abad never looked back. While Abad worked with a variety of media—painting, collages, abstract assemblages— her art is noted most for its vibrancy of color, often making use of the full spectrum in her canvases.

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For the MCAD show, the emphasis will be on her “trapunto” paintings, a technique she pioneered, where she combined elements of quilting, embroidery, and sewing to create highly textural, 3D-like artwork. The show is co-curated by her nephew, contemporary artist Pio Abad.

Ongoing until July 1, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde SDA Campus, Malate, Manila; mcadmanila.org.ph

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This story was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Town&Country Philippines

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