January 14, 2014
Media Contact: Lisa Terry, 253.272.4258 x3011,

Northwest Artist Camille Patha
Delivers a Punch of Color to Tacoma Art Museum

Pioneering Artist Shares Vibrant Lifetime of Artwork with Puget Sound

(Tacoma, WA) – Camille Patha is an artist as bold and colorful as her canvases. For more than 50 years, she has dedicated herself to painting; exploring styles including hard-edged abstraction and surrealist-infused photorealism. She is one of the few Northwest women artists to achieve and maintain a vital and expanding artistic practice from the 1960s through today. Tacoma Art Museum honors her now with the solo exhibition A Punch of Color: Fifty Years of Painting by Camille Patha, on view February 1 through May 15, 2014.

Patha’s infectious enthusiasm and passion for art jumps off her colorful canvases, embodying her imagery and vocabulary with an unwavering voice and shocking vigor. Raised in West Seattle, Patha discovered her love of vibrant colors while studying at Arizona State University. She brought those colors back with her to complete her painting studies at the University of Washington where she was told to “calm it down.” But she continued to embrace her desire for strong color and to articulate a unique personal identity. She was included in the Washington State delegation to the Osaka World’s Fair in 1970 along with Guy Anderson, Mark Tobey, and others. She was the first woman to win the Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair in 1975 and received her first retrospective in 1979 at the Bellevue Art Museum.

“As an artist, she is virtually unparalleled in the region,” said Rock Hushka, Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art. “She has been a trailblazer, reshaping the possibilities for future painters, and she continues to produce paintings of exceptional beauty and power.”

In many ways, Patha’s painting reflects the shifts in the trends and themes addressed by many of her colleagues. But she has remained staunchly independent of any allegiance to a particular style or a contained set of ideas. Her trajectory as an artist is complex, with dramatic shifts in style about every decade. Her voracious, colorful, artistic exploration and fearlessness define her career as a painter.

Throughout her career Patha has battled the gender bias of the art world. Early on, she would sign her paintings with only her initials, so that she could be judged on the merit of her work and not by the stereotype that came with being a woman painter. Once, a gallery attendant remarked to her that she “painted just like a man.” To which Patha retorted, “No, I paint like a painter.” From that day on, she chose to sign her works with her full name, facing the discrimination head-on.

“We are indebted to Camille for lessons in resilience,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “Her dynamic career and compelling personal story demonstrate that commitment and hard work are critical to success.”

A Punch of Color, organized by Tacoma Art Museum, follows Patha’s career from her first surrealist works to her most recent oil paintings. A new catalogue accompanies the exhibition and will be available in the Museum Store beginning February 1.

Related programs and events:

  • A Punch of Color with Curator Rock Hushka
    Friday, January 31, 11 am

    Learn how Northwest artist Camille Patha has asserted her power as a painter over her celebrated 50-year career. Cost: Free with admission
  • Exhibition Opening Celebration
    Saturday, February 1, 6–9 pm
    Celebrate the career of Northwest artist Camille Patha and her much-anticipated solo exhibition. Party with Camille to the beats of Latin Jazz quintet, Mi Ritmo, and enjoy colorful appetizers and refreshments. Cost: Free for members ($10 non-members)
  • Power of Paint with Barbara de Pirro
    Saturday, February 15, 10 am–4 pm
    Create your own powerful painting while learning about color blending, abstraction, and symbolism. Cost: $160 ($140 members)
  • Artist Lecture: Camille Patha
    Saturday, February 22, 2 pm
    Northwest artist Camille Patha shares her insights about her process for creating her colorful and large abstract artwork. Cost: $15 ($10 members, $5 for students)
  • Color Theory with Elise Richman
    Saturday, March 8, 2 pm
    Learn color theory and create your own artwork with Associate Professor of Art at University of Puget Sound. Cost: $35 ($25 members)
  • Gender Inequality and Women Artists with Curatorial Fellow Alison Maurer
    Wednesday, March 12, 11 am
    Examine gender inequality and how professional artists have handled discrimination. A roundtable discussion follows the lecture. Cost: Free with admission.
  • Camille, Color, and Composition
    Saturday, March 15, 11 am
    Discuss and create color schemes, designs, compositions, and layouts with legendary Northwest artist Camille Patha. Cost: $40 ($30 members)
  • Artist Lecture and Gallery Tour with Camille Patha
    Wednesday, April 2, 11 am
    Northwest artist Camille Patha shares stories of her inspiration and experiences from her 50-year career. Includes a gallery tour led by the artist. Cost: Free with admission.
  • Feminism in Northwest Art
    Saturday, April 5, 2 pm
    Alison Maurer, Curatorial Fellow, discusses the impact of feminism on the art and artists of the Northwest. Cost: $15 ($10 members, $5 for students)

For press images, interviews, or more information, contact Lisa Terry at 253.272.4258 x3047 or

Tacoma Art Museum’s mission is to connect people through art. The museum serves the diverse communities of the region through its collection, exhibitions, and learning programs, emphasizing art and artists from the Northwest. Tacoma Art Museum is located in the downtown Cultural District, near the Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, and Union Station.

HOURS: Wednesday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm, Third Thursdays 10 am–8 pm
ADMISSION: Adult $9, Student/Military/Senior (65+) $8, Family $25 (2 adults and up to 4 children under 18). Children 5 and under free. Third Thursdays free from 5-8 pm. Members always free.
CONTACT: 253.272.4258,,