Cleansed in the devouring flames, subjects in the paintings of Patrick Shoemaker are torn between the two polar ends of the spectrum between love and hate. Referencing the old worlds and symbolism of the ancient cultures, the artist infuses his work with an indistinguishable ambiguity. However, the reflexive nature in Shoemaker’s new exhibition hints away at a certain opposition of divided forces, inviting the viewers to form their own narratives. Anna Zorina Gallery is proud to announce the solo exhibition of paintings by Patrick Shoemaker, entitled Fire on Fire. The show will feature Shoemaker’s larger-than-life works created in his signature style of mimicking the loose brushstrokes of cave paintings with a contemporary approach.
Patrick Shoemaker received his BFA in 2006 from the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers University, and in 2013, the Salt Lake City-born artist received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. When it comes to finding inspiration for art, Shoemaker does not pigeonhole his views, instead, he looks for stimuli in many different sources. From mythology and folk art to ornamentation and aesthetics, his ambivalent context can be traced back to a variety of origins. His artworks mostly represent stories and values from previous cultures, emphasizing the power of the oral language and its impact on cultures through imagery. Through the use of bright colors and lush layers of oil paint, Patrick adds a distinguished contemporary character to the visual remnants of a society relegated to the past. Religious beliefs, elements of routine, exploration of emotions, all of these aspects have been integrated in the human societies dating back to pre-historic times, and still today, they hold their place in the modern existence. These universal elements of human life are now depicted in a different contextual understanding, juxtaposed between the polar sides of the ancient and the contemporary.
Fire on Fire exhibition explores and reignites the ancient views of the Greek and other old cultures. Somewhere between love and hate, the artist’s subjects are caught lingering in the flaming passion. The characters depicted are interacting with unclear intention, their hands outstretched and claws interlocked in a hug, or perhaps a violent grasp. The thin line between a serene and violent sensation is blurred in the loose strokes of the paintbrush. The portrayed subject may have been just an animal, or a pet, or even a worshiped deity, without any actual context and background, the ambiguity prevails. It is right there, in the mesmerizing thirst for knowledge and the insatiable search for answers, that the true artistry lies. The untold stories transcend generations and turn into myths and folklore, the original aim and message of a drawing fades over time, leaving nothing but broken fragments of a narrative, perhaps never to be reassembled again.
Patrick Shoemaker succeeds in making the untold messages even more compelling and captivating by letting the viewer develop their own sentiments. By escaping the confines of a straight-forward meaning, the artist opens up a whole new spectrum of value, interpretation and perception. Patrick Shoemaker’s exhibition of paintings Fire on Fire is on view February 25 – April 2, 2016, at Anna Zorina Gallery in New York City. The opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 6-8pm. Come down and see if you can rediscover the forgotten meanings, lost in the ancient narratives, portrayed in a contemporary manner.
All images copyright: Patrick Shoemaker; Courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery
Featured images: Patrick Shoemaker - Knife, 2015 (detail); Patrick Shoemaker - After They Left, 2015; Patrick Shoemaker - Bringing Water, 2016; Patrick Shoemaker - Pour, 2016
New York City, United States of America