In 2011, artists Heather Patterson and Elaine Coombs began working on a set of collaborative paintings as an experiment. They had always responded positively to each other's work and thought it might be interesting to see it together. It was a way to push them into new territory, to be faced with challenges they wouldn't usually encounter working by themselves. Heather and Elaine started on paper and small panels, each taking a turn at starting a work and then shipping it to the other artist (Heather lives in Colorado, Elaine in California). Initially, both artists found it challenging to deal with their different styles - Heather works in layers and can actually go completely over a layer if it doesn't work; while Elaine’s process by contrast, is only additive. In the first few tries, they tiptoed around each other's marks. However, after several attempts, they found a happy medium – layering and integrating several new works.
Second State works appeared in gallery exhibitions in both CA and Park City, UT . Shortly thereafter, the collaborative team was commissioned to create a series of four wine labels for Imagery Estate Winery. In conjunction, the artworks for the wine labels, along with process photos and support materials, as well as their own individual paintings, were featured in a museum show called, “Beyond the Pour II - The Creative Process” (August 20, 2016 - January 20, 2017). After the exhibit, the Second State wine label artwork will be on display in the tasting room at the Imagery Estate Winery in Glen Ellen, CA. The wines featuring the SS labels were released in late 2016, and are now available by joining the Imagery Winery - Artistry Series Wine Club. Most recently, a monumental Second State piece was installed in the new health offices of Kaiser Permanente in Dublin, CA
What does the name mean?
“Initially, we were thinking about passing our work back and forth between our two states of residence - California and Colorado. Our idea then shifted to thinking about how the work is transformed when each artist takes their turn and makes their marks on the piece. A work is in the 'first state' when one artist begins. Then when it is passed to the other artist in the duo, it is now in it's 'second state'. The second state is the place/space where the magic starts and collaboration begins. The second artist has to feed off the ideas that the first artist has begun to develop. We really like that there is a dual meaning of the 2 states idea.”