Richard Patterson at Timothy Taylor Gallery
The gallery screams with colour. Richard Patterson’s most recent works hang majestically, so grand in scale, so full of beauty, they are instantly appealing and unfortunately relatable. Unfortunate because it is a body of work that prospers in consumer goods and shallow sexual encounters. Unfortunate because these are both highly disposable aspects in the contemporary world. Works such as Three Times a Lady see miniature toy figures smeared in paint, Portrait of the Artist as an Older Man juxtaposes the head of Bellini’s Doge Leonardo Loredan with nude women, and Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Dying portrays blurred pornographic images.
Patterson’s illusions of prefabricated mass-produced objects achieve an authenticity that can only exist through the paint brush. Through this technical process, he provides an impression of a more analytical meaning in these objects, allowing the viewer to consider these usually overlooked products in a more individual manner: the once little, kitsch toy now becomes noticed in its absurdity as Patterson’s grandiosely proportioned representations dominate the gallery.
The abstracted subject matter of his pieces is contrasted with hyperrealism, thus confusing the division between abstract and figurative areas of the work – a technique that Patterson feels will relate to the ever so powerful digital age. This attempt to capture the pixel through the pallet is in itself a strange choice. With digital technology designed to surpass the canvas, he somehow exceeds these scientific developments through the traditional method of painting.
The transformation of film, magazines and advertising into the pure art of painting raises the idea of ingenuity in popular culture. It calls for a new kind of critique, one which does not condemn consumerism but considers it as a developing aspect of today. It would seem that it is no longer unfortunate that these pieces are relatable. Pre-existing knickknacks become representations of the artist himself; he embraces the disposable qualities of pop culture and throws them into the realm of fine art. And why not? It is, after all, so strongly present in society, why try to avoid it?
Richard Patterson is at Timothy Taylor Gallery until 1st June 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.