Pita Plastica

Pita is the local word for string or twine in Guatemala. This brightly colored almost fluorescent nylon material is used to tie practically anything together; vegetables, wood, paper, garbage… you name it, everyone uses it.

What brought me to pita plastica was the frustration of trying to find quality materials locally when we moved to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. One day while walking along the streets of San Marco la Laguna the pita caught my eye.

I began to experiment with it by wrapping it onto the wood frames that I had already constructed for my paintings. Magic began to happen. The minimal geometric compositions took on a life of their own. The material was at once easily recognizable, yet strange to see incorporated into contemporary minimal or geometric abstract art.

Another interesting aspect of the pita is the way it takes light. The material has an intersting sheen to it that gives the work a pop art feel to it. But it also absorbs or reflects light depending on the time of day or how the light hits it. So the depth and texture of the piece is constantly changing throughout the day.

Finally, because the material is inexpensive synthetic nylon, the color fades over time depending on how much direct sunlight it is in contact with. This creates a richness of texture and a time worn feel to the pieces that are in direct sunlight. If the piece is placed out of the direct sunlight, the color stays in its original state.

One way of manipulating this light effect is to use pita bought from different places. Depending on how old the pita is and if it has been placed in direct sunlight and for how long, a single color can have an endless variation of tone and color saturation.

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