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Polemic || Pat Perry || Back


The body of artworks referred to as Recitals depict different sorts of imagined pageants and performers. The images aren't total; they don't articulate the whole story arc of each recital. Rather, they're snapshots from mid-recital, or from solitary performances to no one, or from moments just before or after.

The imagined pageants are the performers trying to make coherent narratives that simplify a confusing world. The company of performers (like us) doesn't exist in a logical world; they exist in an emotional world, based on stories. They congregate into a group who share a similar story. And in both these worlds (theirs and ours), there are knowledge limits, and mortally short time limits. But the meaning-making is mostly what I'm interested in here.

Deep down, I hoped the pictures would fixate on the desire for two things, comradery, and some feeling of clarity. Both of which, in reality, feel intermittent and short lived. To put it another way, to feel like you understand what your life means, and to feel like you're not alone as you go through it. If this all sounds a little lofty, not to worry; the performers in the drawings don't look like they're taking themselves nearly as seriously as I sound like I am.

Pat Perry is an American visual artist primarily painting, drawing, photographing, and installing large-scale outdoor mural installations.

Throughout the 2010's, a series of sketchbooks and photos documenting years of traveling itinerantly around the United States, accidentally became some of Perry's most well-known works. Simultaneously, his large-scale works and posters have called attention to various social causes through collaborations with groups such as the Beehive Design Collective, AptArts, No More Deaths, and the UN High Commissioner For Refugees.

In 2018, Perry's largest body of paintings debuted as a solo exhibition titled, National Lilypond Songs at UICA in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In early 2020, several of the works were exhibited alongside new works in a solo exhibition titled, Song and Dance at Takashi Murakami's Hidari Zingaro gallery in Tokyo.

Perry's ongoing series of Recital works use a fictional group of performers to animate social and emotional effects of 21st century technologies. The works include paintings, drawings, and installations of life-size performers on interstate medians and roadsides throughout the Midwest. Pat works and lives in a small downtown neighborhood on Detroit's East Side.

Polemic is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

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