Patrick Neal
I’m fascinated by still life, often considered an old and cliched genre, as an excellent vehicle for pondering developments of the past half century that call into question a discontentment with formalism. Approaching the genre with this frame of mind reinvigorates it for the 21st century within the now vast world of modes of representation. I reference genre painting, both as a nostalgic nod to Modernism and for musing on the creation of artworks themselves. My setups are mostly made of artificial things; street detritus, plastic flowers and vases that I recycle, made up to look like a still life–a sort of Frankenstein’s monster or Golem. When I put found objects together, I'm viscerally drawn to the physical and sensual materiality of their substance. My interest lies in the textures, interplay, atmosphere and gravity of these objects and how the materials and arrangements evoke art historical periods and art making throughout history. What is actually real in the paintings are the physical objects, and I strive for my sensibility to come across as I paint them. I see these items, often arranged to reference studio materials and studio practices and designed for a "slow read" of the paint handling, as a metaphor for the resilience of the paint medium itself.