May 31 – August 18, 2012
Featuring Sky Patterson
I use paint for its transcendent behavior towards the subject. The color-filled abstract backgrounds and lack of contextual markers create an atmosphere for detachment. Through the disconnection of non-local color and raw treatment of paint, I explore the paradox of my subjects. My inspiration is spawned from my intimations of the human condition. We are always drawn to the figure because we are most familiar with and curious about ourselves. I approach the figure in the manner of anonymous portraiture. With the subjects’ facial features suppressed, their figurative gestures are what defines them. This current series featuring seemingly young and heroic swimmers are bound by the swimming pool, an arena where danger, competition, play, struggle, angst and uncertainty exist. Themes of man versus man, man versus nature and man versus himself recur throughout the work. Whether in solitude or in groups, each swimmer nevertheless stands alone. The figure is both desolate and crowded in the vast spaces of the mind and the claustrophobic chaos of mass culture.
Sky Patterson was born in 1978 in San Antonio, Texas, and currently divides his time between studios in San Antonio and his great-grandfather’s ranch in Comfort. He graduated from Churchill High School in 1996 as an art award-winning student, studied at San Antonio Community College, and has had a long relationship with renowned painter Fritz Scholder of Scottsdale, Arizona. Sky was awarded the San Antonio Art League’s Artist of the Year in 2008, was included in New American Talent 23 at Arthouse in Austin, and participated twice as artist-in-residence at the Robert M. MacNamara Foundation, Westport Island, Maine.
Swimming pools offer Sky Patterson a range of narrative associations and aesthetic opportunities. His compositions arrest figures in motion or suggest the rest before or after movement. Each painting integrates the polar possibilities of representational photographs and the colorful and rather messy but dynamic surfaces of canvases that once served as ground for cleaning brushes that were used with earlier works. While relaxed or active, spontaneous or posed, Patterson’s figures create opportunity for the viewer’s identification as participant in or observer of a familiar scene, yet Patterson does not restrict himself to a documentary approach. His paintings present subjectivity as fusing physical foundations with psychic drive as athletic activity marks the border between endeavor and limitation, but these works complicate humanistic interpretations as they merge mimetic imagery with formal experiments with color, line, and structure. Areas of uniform color engage with transparent blends, drips, and opaque application that both present information and transform singular understanding. Ultimately, Patterson’s works escape geographic location and linear narrative to become painted situations of creative exercise, that of the athlete, of the painter, and of the viewer.