They Thought It Was My Last Trip
Earthenware, porcelain, mixed media
38 x 12 x 17.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation
Patti Warashina’s They Thought It Was My Last Trip! holds a constrained woman in a coffin-like car covered in flowers. Though this could be a reference to death, on closer inspection you see that the figure has one eye open in a symbolic wink. Warashina’s work creates narratives that are often humorous and for much of the last fifty years includes "figures placed in imagined environments that show her subversive thinking.” She uses sculpture to explore such themes as the human condition, feminism, car-culture, and political and social topics. Warashina literally sketches from the news and her daily life. She has an abnormal interest in the absurdity and foibles of human behavior, in which her figures have become the actors in her introspective narratives.
Warashina was born in Japan and was the youngest of three children, but she was raised in Spokane, Washington where her father was a dentist. When she was 10 years old, her father passed away so her mother raised the children alone. She did not even consider studying art until she moved to Seattle for college. With the intention of majoring in a science field at University of Washington, she enrolled in a drawing class as an elective course. Warashina's first husband was fellow ceramics student Fred Bauer, and from 1964 to 1970 she exhibited as Patti Bauer in Funk art exhibitions. In 1976, she married Robert Sperry (see his large black and white crackle wall Platter from 1987). During the 1970s and 1980s, Warashina, Sperry, and Howard Kottler (see Kottler’s 1973 Royal Paisley Pot) ran the ceramics program at the University of Washington's School of Art, growing it into one of the best-known programs in the United States.
Billie Sessions, PhD.
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