Garment Pattern Paintings: Unique Textile Abstract Expressionism

Oil paintings with paper collage and sewn canvases.

"Carol Es's paintings are both whimsical and dark. She has a knack for mixing light humor with its ominous underside. The work is bold in its approach, combining complex compositional choices with freeform images and marks. The collages combine painterly surfaces with embroidery and applied textures, successfully adding to the layers of the narratives.

"Her work often draws upon her family background in the garment industry, and at times her work is based on autobiographical narratives. We can relate to her dialogue as she focuses on our shortcomings and our innocent wanderings in the structured world into which we are born. Her many projects push the unique reasoning into a magical world of their own--a world that is parallel to the one we inhabit."

- Kim Abeles, Artist


"Es draws from her childhood experiences expressing notions of survival, healing, renewal, continuation, and self-actualization. Her work often delves deeply into the years she worked alongside her father in the garment district of downtown Los Angeles. Laboring as a child in sweatshop like conditions, she painstakingly cut clothing patterns. These abstracted shapes of shirtsleeves, pockets, and pant legs are seen throughout her work. They illuminate the working class struggle and the immigrant dream of rags to riches, reminding Angelenos that the sweatshop experience has left a dark stain on the fabric of our city."

- Anne Hromodka, Independent Curator


This series began as a psychological experiment when I turned my garage into the workplace of my youth, replicating the cutting room where I worked along side my father. It was complete with a steel cutting table and rolls of manila pattern paper. I used the exact same hand tools to create master patterns--just as though they were going out for manufacturing. I wanted to see if this process would be therapeutic, cathartic, or lend itself to interesting artwork. These paintings incorporate paper garment patterns, thread, fabric, pins and other media from the apparel industry.