Pat Brentano

Making a Way

Making A Way | Adaptation
Artists: Andranik Aroutiounian, Pat Brentano, Rachel Burgess, Jennifer Celio, Joe Karlovec, Ken Reker, Shawn Rowe, Amy Schissel

Pat Brentano: On her work and how the Coronavirus has affected her practice

We have lost our connection to the natural world. We have destroyed suburban ecosystems by planting large areas of sterile, chemically treated grass, ornamental bushes and trees cut into balls and trimmed like lollipops. Nature is not neat. We fail to see its authenticity. Birds, bees, butterflies and their habitat are disappearing from the suburban landscape. According to Doug Tallamay in his book Nature’s Best Hope, “whether we like nature or not none of us will be able to live for long in a world without it.”

Seven years ago, I transformed my yard into a native habitat to benefit migratory birds and pollinators. During this pandemic we have been forced to slow down, stay at home, sit in our yards and walk our neighborhoods. This quarantine in place has forced me to look deeper into what I previously generalized and introduced new and endless possibilities. If one good thing comes of this terrible situation nature has had a chance to cleanse, and we will have had more time to observe, even if it is only in our yards or through our windows.

Pat uses her visual voice to speak for the natural world. In 2012, PBS aired nationally the NJN State of the Arts documentary about Pat as an artist and environmentalist. The institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers also produced a documentary about her work as part of their Transforming Lives Project. Much of her inspiration comes from her own back yard which she has transformed into a native habitat to benefit the migratory birds in suburbia. Pat partnered with NJ Audubon and The Nature Conservancy of Indiana to create site specific installations and present workshops on the importance of native habitat.

She is a NJ State Council on the Arts Individual Fellow, a Puffin Grant recipient and a Weir Farm Artist in Residence. Her work on endangered birds received the Curators award at the Chesterwood Museum in MA, an I -Park Residency and landed her a solo show and residency at the Evansville Museum in Indiana.

Pat received a BFA from Washington University and an MFA from Tyler School of Art. She resides in Westfield, New Jersey.
Instagram: @patbrentano