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.

The frustration of trying to source quality paint and canvas locally led me to explore other materials when we moved to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Immediately 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 buy different types of pita from different places. Depending on how old the pita is and if it has been placed in direct sunlight, a single color can have an endless variation of tone and color saturation.