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Artist uses art to untangle life

"It was a good opportunity to just focus. There's a lot of repetitiveness in what I do and it's sort of relaxing and a meditative experience," said Lewis. "But it's very time consuming and it was good not to be distracted by the hustle and bustle of everyday life."

When Lewis first decided to work on abstract pieces, she said she started to collect photographs and Xeroxs from nature magazines or materials around her house that were accumulations of things. Working with India ink and most recently graphite pencil, she said her art focuses on the fine line between when something is a pattern and when it's a texture.

"I use Xeroxs of coral or leaf veins or sand dunes, and from those, I sort of developed my own visual vocabulary. There are a few things I tend to use over and over and over again in different ways or combinations. I repeat and weave them together to create a bigger surface," said Lewis. "Some things could look like a texture from a distant view but if you look up close it's a pattern. I use a lot of little shapes that might look like beads or puzzle pieces and they came out of the shapes I saw when I was studying my elements that are directly from nature. I'm sort of organically inspired."

Lewis said she's been playing with the concept of patterns for awhile now, something she said makes her feel connected to many of the feminist artists who were influential when she was learning to be an artist. She said she's always been attracted to patterned fabrics and has done quilting, knitting and painting through the years. She sees this art as an offshoot of her history.

The project she's perhaps most excited about, she said, is a drawing she started many years ago that's a remnant of wallpapering and silk screening she used to do. The piece, which will be part of the display in Saratoga, incorporates her son Jake's work into her own.

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