Rita G. Patel
Rita Patel is a self-taught, mixed-media artist whose works incorporate surface design, abstract painting, illustration and relational art. She is the founder of Experiments in Beautiful Thinking and of Relational Waste. Rita holds a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, with a focus on Quality of Life. She is trained in Conversational Leadership by poet David Whyte and is certified in Enchantivism and the Creative Problem Solving method. Rita also is a CPA, Certified Workplace Wellness Program Manager and Public Health and Well-being Specialist. Her projects are both corporate and community based. Each invites people to expand their creativity capacity and discover themselves and each other in relationship for vitality and collective social thriving through new ways and uses of storytelling. Drawing upon Enchantivism and Conversational Leadership, Rita’s work asks the question: what if we could transform the world by experiencing beauty? This experience is a rich source of inspiration that informs her creative process at the intersection of beauty, well-being (social, emotional, and mental) and creativity.
Rita started painting at The Art Students League of New York in 1999 and has been exhibiting her artwork across the USA for the past 20 years. Her work focuses on transformation; inspired by her philosophy that as humans our experience of beauty can change our world by changing the way we see ourselves, our situations and our environments. In 2011, she was awarded an Artist in Residence by 365 Days of Print. She designs interactive art experiences at the Detroit Institute of Arts and has served on the Board of Trustees as the Chair of the Exhibition Committee at Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester, MI. Rita’s work is held in the permanent collections of the NYSE, Brooklyn Art Library, and public communities of Detroit. She lives in Michigan with her husband Alan Haras with whom she frequently collaborates.
The Circles series began as an impulse. There was an attraction to the shape and how its curves were comforting and settling in a time of great change. I started these pieces with repurposed paint, paper, canvas and saree fabric all meant originally for another use. On a symbolic level. while painting and assembling the media, each became a meditation on different and overlapping ideas represented by the circle; how we all live in bubbles of our own making, and how they overlap, and bump up against other bubbles. We are more connected than we realize; how time in our natural lives is cyclical and not a linear journey from point A to point B. Rhythms guide us and we live spherically, and I wonder is that why when there is no path we walk in a circle. When thinking of new economics, the donut economy starts to make sense. Being inclusive and ecologically minded, can we all connect and flourish? Can our experience of beauty change the world, and in the case of this series, can the visual experience here lead us to new ways together? Beauty is the foundation of my work. Through my work I aspire for people to experience beauty and come into a relationship with it in their own way. Imagine if beauty was at the forefront of our lives: How would our relationships, our conversations, and our choices be different? I believe that navigating our world in beauty leads to a just, wonder-filled and joyful world. One that we want to live for. One that is truly abundant and prosperous. One that is brimming with hope.
-Rita G. Patel