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Purnima Patel and Terri Grant
Bellevue Arts Museum
Exhibition 23rd July 2021 - 2nd January 2022

Trace, a collaborative exhibition by Terri Grant and Purnima Patel, began amongst the fir trees on the campus of the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA. In 2019, Grant, Patel, and fellow glass artist Susan Harlan were collectively awarded the Pilchuck Glass School’s prestigious John H. Hauberg Fellowship, which provides a team of artists open access to Pilchuck’s facilities, with the expectation that they will explore new ways of working with glass and engage in critical personal and artistic dialogue. The artists’ vision was to explore the concept of “trace” between themselves as individuals and community members while also invoking its relationship to the landscape and to the larger world that surrounds us all.

The project draws inspiration from the multitude of meanings associated with the word “trace”. As the Pilchuck project evolved, it became clear that “trace,” often thought of as a very small amount, has more deeply visceral meanings that evoke sensory and existential considerations. A trace can be a fragment or a relic, a smell or a taste, a hint or a shred, a speck or a stain. It also can document that something exists, acting as proof despite scale. It can be the path that leads us to our destination, beckoning us to follow or seek. Traces are all around us. Even our home, Earth, it turns out, is composed of a myriad of trace—fragments from exploded stars that coalesced over time and space.

Holding these ideas close, the artists allowed Trace to lead them, like detectives following a series of clues, to make new artistic discoveries and push the boundaries of their craft.

In the months following the Fellowship, Terri Grant and Purnima Patel continued on in their exploration of Trace, and together they share some of their discoveries here, at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Trace extends an invitation to move slowly and to take the time to notice the small details that are poignantly preserved in each work of art.

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