Pauline Burbidge’s "Stripe Still Life" (1990) is a paper and watercolour collage depicting a still life of a pot and a bowl on a table. The table, which is shadowed a dark grey, is in the bottom right of the image. The table cloth consist of a series of bold stripes, curving into one-another and radiating out toward the edge of the canvas. This striking black and white pattern is offset by the more organic shapes and colours on the bright blue jug and the floral-printed bowl. The work itself takes a cue from the Cubists Pablo Picasso and George Braque, who also produced still life collages, and whose work shared a similar flatness of perspective.
The collage was made by gluing differently-coloured papers onto a backing sheet in order to create a pattern. At first the image appears two-dimensional, since it is constructed from solid blocks of colour. Burbidge uses the stripes to lessen the flatness, as their contours and intersections have the quality of draped cloth. The direction of the stripes and the bright colours direct the eye toward the surface of the table, though the title of the work suggests that the interplay of the stripes is as much the subject as the still life itself.
Burbidge trained as a textile designer, and usually works with textiles, so much of her work focuses on patterns. She iss been inspired by her love of fabric, colour and traditional patchwork quilts, and thinks of herself as a designer, craftsperson and textile artist. Her work harkens back to twentieth-century modernism in its use of complex abstract patterns as does her concern with craftsmanship. She uses paper collage as a tool for designing fabric, as the process of cutting out and piecing together different elements of the design is similar to quilting. Her work often incorporates natural themes such as plants and flowers, as in the floral design on the bowl.
Pauline Burbidge was born in Dorset in 1950 and lives in Scotland. She studied Fashion and Textiles at the London School of Fashion. Her work is held in public collections such as the Victoria & Albert and Glasgow Museums, and she exhibits internationally, mostly in the US and UK. She has been included in a number of group exhibitions, as well as presented in books, journals, and on television. She also teaches and has written several guides to quilting.