|For more information about this article or gallery, please call the gallery phone number listed in the last line of the article, "For more info..."|
December Issue 2007
Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island, SC, Features Works by Michael Patterson
Natural Rhythm, a series of new paintings by Michael Patterson will be featured at Sandpiper Gallery on Sullivan's Island, SC, on view from Dec. 1 - 31, 2007. This latest series of works of musicians, beach paintings and figure studies, will include pieces rendered on paper in charcoal, watercolor and acrylic as well as large vibrant oils on linen.
Patterson was born in Hudson, NY, into a family of painters. Howard Ashman Patterson, his grandfather, was an established American painter. Although his grandfather died when Michael was a teen, he was a silent teacher all of Michael's life. "My grandfather was a wonderful American painter who painted in Philadelphia, Chicago, Santa Fe, Southern France, Paris, Corsica and many places in between. He was a very interesting painter who mixed nuances of color with great care and subtlety, but who also created very strong graphic compositions. To this day, his paintings are a constant source of inspiration and wonder for me." Patterson's brother David is also a devoted painter who paints classical-style paintings of the Hudson River Valley and of his travels. "With my grandfather's paintings around me, with parents very sympathetic to the arts, and with plenty of supplies, I have been painting since I was a little kid."
Patterson graduated from Suny Purchase with an honorable mention in painting, printmaking and sculpture. He has been painting for 35 years, and following in the footsteps of his grandfather he has traveled extensively for inspiration including stays in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paris, Italy, Greece and the South of France. In the US, much time has been spent painting in the Hudson River Valley, Vermont, Maine, California and New Mexico. Having lived in France for several years, his work has been shown extensively in Europe as well as the US.
"I find that through the years, my work has changed in several ways, but I am still drawn to many of the same things visually that I was drawn to years ago... rainy streets, blazing sun on sparkling waters, faces, hands, clouds, sky, dappled sunlight dancing on the ground under trees, people at the beach, musicians and emotions in everyday people. My work focuses on light, reflected light and its color effects, as well as the equally important positive and negative shapes which create the graphic energy of my compositions. The relationship of these shapes sets the rhythm for a piece and influences where the viewer's eye travels and at what pace. I include curved lines with straight, organic shapes juxtaposed with geometric shapes all woven together."
I am always conscious of the line created by any color masses converging," Patterson adds. "One of the key things that my grandfather enlightened me with was the use of the repetition of shape to create rhythm in a painting. The negative shapes around the object are just as important as the object itself when it comes to making a painting lively; the interaction between the positive and negative shapes is critical, along with the relationship of colors. Finally, the subject of my work most always includes the human figure wherever they may be - city streets, markets, the beach, alone or in groups. Beyond all other beauty in the world, people in all their complexities are the pinnacle of beauty."
Early in his career when attending Suny Purchase, Patterson met Antonio Frasconi, a successful and well known artist and professor. He remembers, "Antonio responded more strongly to my sketches than my finished paintings. He would notice these tiny sketches that I did from life and he would say 'that's the painting right there. Go for the expression of your heart. Get at something that excites you - express the things that mean something to you.' He reminded me to go after something that moved me and to make the painting about that inspired element."
Some of Patterson's most compelling works are his quickly rendered preliminary studies, many of which will be included in this show. There is a confidence in the minimalist brush strokes and pencil lines in these pieces. He also creates large complex oil paintings and watercolors rendered in dramatic color with a nod to cubism. At first glance these large paintings are very different from the minimalist studies; however all of these works include the attention to the positive and negative shapes in a scene and the relationships of these shapes.
When asked who his favorite artists might be, he simply states, "Most everybody gets to me." From Raphael to Klee, Gioto to Picasso, Michaelangelo to Milton Avery, Caravagio to the ancient Egyptians - he could go on and on with this seemingly endless list of favorites.
"These great artists through the ages are a source of inspiration for all of us," says Patterson. "Each in their own way was painting the human drama - profound stories about people. Picasso, for his inventiveness, Rothko for taking note of the power of two colors colliding, and Vermeer's incredible technique - just a few examples of the ways a few of these greats have influenced my work, but by far my greatest inspiration comes from the work of my grandfather. All of my life these paintings [by my grandfather] spoke to me and affected me. He inspired me with the strength of delicately placing two colors side by side. His paintings were loaded with these slight nuances of color and their relation to each other."
The strength that is inherent in the particular placement of colors in a work is something that is brought forth in Patterson's work. "For example, purple next to green as well as rose against gold creates a vibration, which is often seen in nature. A single color is not nearly as good without another color to relate it to, just like notes in music. A single note is just that, a single note. But when it is put with another note you get the relation between them and their effect on each other."
"In the late 90's, William Zimmer of the NY Times, wrote [of Michael Patterson's style], "Metaphorically, this practice of making even mundane things seem jewel-like, hints that the artist regards all phenomena in the world as special. Mr. Patterson turns his talents on the tried and true, but sometimes he makes viewers see the familiar freshly, especially when two different images are juxtaposed to make a point about the universality of everyday life."
Patterson has said, "The hardest job as
a painter is to choose from the endless variety of subjects and
approaches. For many years I painted everyday all day long
trying to paint everything that I saw. I still paint or sculpt
everyday, but now I realize that I can't stop every time I see
a cloud passing over a hilltop or the light on someone's face
- to attempt to capture every single moment of beauty. I
have been trying to focus on a few distinct bodies of work and
to really explore the depth possible in each of these series. I
still find that I'm only scratching the surface of the possibilities."
For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 843/883-0200 or visit (www.sandpipergallery.net).
Carolina Arts is published monthly by Shoestring Publishing
Company, a subsidiary of PSMG, Inc.
Copyright© 2007 by PSMG, Inc., which published Charleston Arts from July 1987 - Dec. 1994 and South Carolina Arts from Jan. 1995 - Dec. 1996. It also publishes Carolina Arts Online, Copyright© 2007 by PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved by PSMG, Inc. or by the authors of articles. Reproduction or use without written permission is strictly prohibited. Carolina Arts is available throughout North & South Carolina.