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Patti Grabel: Spoon Culture

This month, artist and writer Patti Grabel, who is based out of New York and the Hamptons, unveiled her latest art installation at the newly renovated Cosmetics floor of Bloomingdale’s flagship location in Manhattan.

For the one-stop beauty destination, Grabel has created “Circle of Spoons”—an installation comprised of a trio of oversized perfume bottles—a sculptural take on Grabel’s painted-spoon photographs. 

The central outsized bottle features one of Grabel’s signature prints as its background, accented with a chain of metal spoons that signify nourishing one’s family and community, as well as oneself. A second bottle has a top adorned in faux cherries, emblematic of life’s sweetness, and is inspired by Grabel’s sensual spoon-inspired work, Hot Lips. The third bottle is evocative of a goddess and is covered in shimmering spoons. Together, the trio are a vibrant expression of joie-de-vivre, self-confidence, and individuality.

Simultaneous to her showing at Bloomingdale’s, which runs through mid-February, two of Grabel’s painted-spoon photographs will be on display at Galleria Ca’ d’Oro, through February 28, 2019, in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. 

The group gallery show, BIANCO, is an ode to minimalism. Grabel has contributed her 2018 works “Serenity” and “Choice.” 

The Beloved Utensil 

Patti’s creative process is as fascinating as the works themselves: “Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to create from the start and, at other times, as I assemble the spoons in groupings on my studio floor, a story reveals itself.” Grabel goes on to apply base coating to the wooden spoons, swirling them in acrylic paint when dry, similar to mixing soup or cake batter, or as Patti would tell you, infusing love into them. “I attach the dripping spoons to the clothesline that spans my yard. The clothesline is a reminder that I’m creating a life outside my kitchen while still using essential kitchen tools. The clothesline is also a traditional symbol of a women’s work and the dedication we have to our family.” As the spoons dry some bubble and others crack but Patti does not alter them, opting to let their natural beauty shine. “Like the spoons, we accept ourselves for the beauty we embody rather than what’s on the surface.”

Causing a Stir 

Between the messages in her work and their overall aesthetic, Patti Grabel will cause a stir within us all in one way or another. “My work has an intention—to connect with people, especially those who may find my story and individual story-lines in my work resonate on a personal level. Of course, I hope that people are also drawn to my work for its aesthetic qualities.”

“Every day, we pick up a spoon metaphorically and literally. The question is, with what will we fill it?” asked Grabel. “For me, today, it’s a rich stew of love, appreciation, and the deep fulfillment that comes from taking chances, expressing myself, and seizing the day.”

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