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On her way upstate for a little post holidays in the shop getaway, Marcia took a detour to do a studio visit with artist, Gemma Gambee. Around a sunny dining room table, Marcia and Gemma chatted about meditation, mindful practices, color and inspiration while carefully selecting paintings to bring down to Brooklyn for the upcoming exhibit at M.PATMOS.


M.PATMOS:  How do these pieces relate to your own meditation practice?


Gemma: These paintings are a mindfulness practice.  Mindfulness practices are practices we use to integrate the personal exploration and findings we discover in our closed eye meditation practice.  For me, I started doing these paintings to practice letting go of the inner critic that roared as I was making art.  I would sit with my paper, paint and brush and allow my attention to notice the thoughts and then redirect my attention to the experience of the brush-paint touching the paper.  These paintings have become a form of praying. 


M.PATMOS:  How has becoming a mother influenced your creative practice?


Gemma:   Motherhood has focused my work with a sense of swiftness. An unapologetic sense of prioritizing has dominated my thought process since becoming a mother of 2 tiny children.  Time and space has shifted away from my priorities to the needs and desires of my children. The moments I do take for mark-marking become so precious that there is nothing other than the brush, paper and pure agency. 


 M.PATMOS:   What feelings do these pieces evoke for you?


Gemma:   These works evoke a sense of elegance, peace, wonder and movement. 


M.PATMOS:  How do you choose certain colors, and what meaning do they hold for you?


Gemma:  The colors I have been creating with these works have come from the people I have collaborated with.  Typically, I have always made them in black and white.  The purity of black and white was powerful for the meditative quality of making them. When friends invited me to hang the work and wanted color, the colors were made from my sense of the person.  These pieces for your shop are absolutely from my sense of a part of you.  They are also developed from the feeling you inspire in me from our shared relationship.


 Gemma Gambee Meditations at the MOMAM.PATMOS:  Your art has a healing quality, is your work connected to any larger hopes you have for the world?


Gemma:  I am delighted that you feel that way, thank you! I’ve never thought of them in that way of changing the world.  But now that you mention it, yes I do.  My deepest desire is that all people learn of their inner divine connection.  The place where bliss emerges from within us.  I hope these are little reminders. 


I first made these works for myself, then my closest friends and family at my wedding and then for my meditation retreat participants.  Then I started painting them for groups of 300-500 people at Quiet Mornings at MoMa.  One painting would be laid on each meditation cushion of these mass meditations.  I asked that participants would pencil their deepest intention on the back and hang it somewhere in their home to be a daily reminder. 


 M.PATMOS:  When did you begin experimenting with these shapes and forms?


Gemma:  These shapes and forms first came when I was studying at The School of Art Institute of Chicago. At the time I was making screen prints of factories and industrial places.  These shapes first came as graffiti on the factory exterior walls. 


Marcia Patmos and Gemma Gambee at M.PATMOS 358 Atlantic Avenue