Exhibitionists: Pat Perry

Straying from form slightly, we bring you Pat Perry, an artist from Michigan. Instead of the requisite five questions, we’ve adapted his artist statement which basically hits on all the points we usually get to in this feature, but in a more meandering way. While he’s talking about his art, he’s also talking about a life philosophy dedicated to thinking beyond what exists right in front of us. His art is layered and fantastical but rooted in real life, which makes it worth looking at more than once. The first six pieces in this gallery were created as part of his residency with the National Park Service at Katmai National Park in Alaska.  

He chose a song by a friend’s band called Radiator Hospital from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to serve as the backdrop to this gallery.

Making artwork has always been a push to make sense of this whole thing and to share a conversation with others about the short time I’ve been alive, through imagery. Each piece plays a role as a particular slice of a larger story, and is made in an effort to share the beauties and tragedies that everyday life brings

The things that seem important right now, for reasons of survival, or for pleasure, are absurd to put an imbalanced focus on, and imply that these things are important indefinitely. To focus on endeavors with short-term rewards, would be shortsighted.

My process starts out with lots of sketching, writing and photographing. These three activities are the main ways I can collect data during times that would be inconvenient to create a full, completed artwork. I can then work from that data to combine these fragments of place or object with an allegorical vocabulary and patterns from my imagination.

Whether using paint, graphite, film, or ink as a medium, I combine imaginative subject matter and patterns with scenes and objects from everyday life to instill a balance of familiarity without the fallacy of assumption.

Ordinary or extraordinary, insignificant or significant, these decisions are for each of us to make on our own. Too long we have apathetically let societal foundations overbearingly decide these for us. In deciding for myself and making it apparent in my artwork, I am promoting to restart the conversation. All is on an equal, inescapable path to completion, and we are all just ants, alive for a day. We don’t need this to be a dreadful notion; it’s a liberating notion. People can and must interpret and decide individually, for themselves. 

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