Gallery 1957 in Accra presents through September 18, 2021 a suite of works by artist Patrick Eugene for his first independent exhibition « Where Do We Go From Here » in Ghana.
The exhibition « Where Do We Go From Here » takes its title from the original text of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. These works include still, nuanced, contemplative vignettes that metaphorically address dark scholars in their conceptualization of innovation.
Patrick Eugene has created works that move away from exactly delivered facial elements and convey loose, layered strokes of color that depict the vigorous qualities of his subjects.
This work recognizes the deep mental and enthusiastic work that artists are called upon to live and suffer with magnanimity to make works that can motivate, reclaim, incite reflection and social change.
In 1967, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. withdrew from demands for civil equality, rented a house in Jamaica without a telephone, and worked on his final composition. Similarly, in the detachment and isolation made conceivable by the pandemic, Patrick Eugene spent countless hours praying and painting alone as a profound act of self-care.
This daily schedule prompted him to reflect on how black artists who have been through horrific situations before, while making important work, have also rehearsed exercises in self-care.
For « Where Do We Go From Here », Patrick Eugene translates vintage photographs depicting black artists, sometimes open, sometimes formally presenting themselves, into composite images that depart from naturalism, inspiring the expressionism of West African veils, and realized in the dynamic hues of Haitian carnival.
While insistently referencing the past, Patrick Eugene‘s current work is part of an existential and intersectional discourse grounded in contemporary ideas of blackness and pan-Africanism, while expressing itself in the style of such high-profile black artists as Beauford Delaney, Horace Pippin and Boscoe Holder.
While deftly traversing the focal point of the past, Patrick Eugene unfolds his own feelings and stories from reflection and his own quest for the inventive self.
With a powerful art-making strategy, overgeneralized terms, layered hues, and impressionistic lighting, Patrick Eugene rethinks dancers, writers, painters, and sculptors as voids that unobtrusively approach the domestic space.
« Where Do We Go From Here » explores how Western art movements, such as Characteristic, Primitivism, and Conceptual Expressionism, which were deeply dependent on the cultural creation of Africa, and this contemporary second are inextricably linked.
Patrick Eugene‘s rich, sumptuous, expressive and mannerist style beautifully records the human condition, while focusing on a community that continues to face real cultural challenges.
Patrick Eugene draws on the magnificence, boldness, splendor, and strength of the dark scholars of the past, introducing a compelling testimony to their living legacy. Clearly, for this artist, the answer to Dr. King’s uncomfortable question, where do we go from here? lies in imagining the places his ancestors once went.
Who is Patrick Eugene?
Patrick Eugene makes large-scale allegorical creations that have their roots in his fixation with conceptual expressionism. This new body of work is in exchange with artists such as Beauford Delaney, Horace Pippin, Boscoe Holder and Ed Clark, and contemporary artists such as Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Henry Taylor.
Patrick Eugene depicts the mind-bending stories of the human experience with ordinary scenes of black America.
A child of Haitian immigrants, Patrick Eugene consolidates the ties of the African diaspora between Haiti and North America in his practice. He offers an interface with ordinary individuals seen in the city of Atlanta. In his studio, the photographs he takes are then rendered in paintings that depart from naturalism and inspire the abstractionism of ancient Africa and the bright color palettes of Haiti.