Patrick N Brown
The process and result of making art means more to me than the creation of a beautiful or pleasing replication of an image. As with life, not all images, realistic or abstract are always pleasant. As a painter, I expose myself to an audience that looks for something in my work to identify with. My work reveals a deep part of my soul and a diverse array of nameless strangers whom I identify with. Those strangers are among us, they’re our neighbors, our sons and daughters. Some are black, some brown and some will not live to see tomorrow. Together we are a tiny ever-changing diverse group caught up in something much bigger than ourselves. I expose myself to the world when I paint; I am there with the grieving mother as her tears blend with those of a homeless child. If the paint is worked long enough all our diversity and color blend as one. My work is a call to open our eyes and heart, to see ourselves and others different than us. I see us as one people and we are all on this canvas together, our colors mixed, exposed to a world that needs to see us.
Art as a form of commentary on societal issues has existed for centuries. It is legitimate and provides inspiration for artist, like myself, to express their feelings that might otherwise be censored. The last year has brought to life the resurgence of racism, violence against women, hate crimes against people of color and those of religious differences. Immigrants are killed and families torn apart. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) communities that have been included as equal in some societies are once again fighting for rights. People are uncertain of their future and fear is embedded in so many. I can not ignore these issues and they have surfaced in my paintings. The paintings began with a series titled Sins of the Father which describes a personal conflict of family dynamics, guilt, fear and acceptance between father and son. The paintings then morphed into a wider perspective of issues. Sleep Children is a memorial to the fallen LGBTQ victims of the Orlando shooting. Memphis 1968 is a reminder of the sanitation workers strike of 1968. The strike brought Dr. Martin Luther King to Memphis where he found himself standing on the balcony of The Lorraine Motel his final act of peaceful resistance. Poz Men’s March is a reminder of the power within the men and women who marched for the research and drugs that changed the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS. The War Dog paintings are a direct social and political statement of the sufferings of war, political greed and lust for power among our world leaders. The strangers in my paintings are our people, our past and our future. The paintings are a documentation of inequality, discontent, suffering and loss. They are a reminder of the power of solidarity.