Making art was always an ambition.

As a child I carried a sketchbook everywhere and drew regularly. A high school ceramics class taught me hand building techniques as well as throwing on the wheel.  Later, formulating glazes was added to the repertory. At this time I studied sculpture, learning molding technique, how to carve in wood and create with plaster. Majored in painting at Pratt Institute in NY and completed undergraduate studies at Philadelphia College of Art. My first mature work—drawing for instance on Navaho hieroglyphs—incorporated all these techniques, and continues to.

The figure, and portraiture, is a primary concern. Subject matter goes to outsized and marginal personalities, people on the fringe, performers contemporary and historical, drag in all its expressive dislocations. Color helps to find a way in. Large, abstract canvases where rhythm and color intersect are a background to arriving at the current mode. Preferred materials include acrylic paint, pastel, chalk and pencil. Use of multiple media in the context of a single (preferably large) work is characteristic.

My mother’s death ten years ago prompted me to begin working from old family photographs. This pushed my work in a certain direction, partly an attempt to reconnect with childhood thoughts and feelings, but moving swiftly past that onto new and unfamiliar terrain. This process now involves placing some part of a photographic image on canvas and working around and through it, using color and line, as well as found objects incorporated into the larger image. My point is to show the way that the same image is reshaped and reworked continuously in the mind depending on time, feeling, place, circumstance and personal history. Most recent work continues this exploration of perspective through collage, beginning from portraiture and moving on to multiple images, frequently repeated, and often arranged as panels divided within the larger picture by vertical wood strips.

My work frequently begins as a matter of mentally juxtaposing the familiar with the strange to suggest the overlap of ritual and memory. Sketching is fundamental to the process, as essential as selecting and recombining materials and imagery inside the final, finished frame. A favorite technique involves drawing into and over painted surfaces as a means to redefine the total form and various gestures involved in the final composition. The first goal is immediacy, the second, visual integrity, aiming always to create not just an image—flat, one-dimensional, controlled—but a visual or spiritual event, pulling the viewer into feelings otherwise dormant or unconsidered. 

©2021 by PatrickEgan.