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Art & Life with Patrick Rees

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Rees.

Patrick, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I came to LA in 2012 for an artist’s residency at RAID Projects (now Eastside International -ESXLA) and fell in love with the city and the art scene here. I had studied fine art in Sydney, in 2001, and Adelaide, Australia, 2007, and had consistently exhibited nationally in group and solo shows since 2005. I had always wanted to come to the US because the big cities, such as NY, because of the diversity of cultures, artists, and curatorial practices. However, my good friend and fellow artist, James Marshall (@jamesbrains), had recommended the RAID Projects residency and had said great things about LA itself.

Though I majored in painting, and painting has always been at the center of my practice, I have also used a range of mediums such as sculpture, video, performance and large-scale installations, which often incorporated all of these elements. I loved how LA seemed to be this incongruous, big, diverse city that promoted this type of amalgamation of competing genres, styles, and forms. The art scene here seemed to draw on all of the dystopian elements of the city as well as the glitz of the movies, the kitsch glamour, the cultural diversity and the sprawling urban landscape. The city promoted an artistic freedom that was inspiring.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My art is based in painting but draws from a range of study and experience and encompasses sculpture, video, performance and large-scale installation that utilizes all of these elements. I deliberately avoid any type of single reading in my work or any ‘message’. If people find the work interesting, confusing, repulsive, boring, or meaningless then that is fine by me, they are all equally valid responses. For me, art in itself is about freedom of thought and expression. In this sense, art is infinite in its potential manifestations. Though that also makes it challenging to produce.

Sometimes, I love the restrictions of the four walls of a painting. To create a painting is a challenge, and for me it is an incredibly engaging process. It’s like a puzzle that I am trying to solve, a kind of complex problem that has no right answer. Hopefully, when people view my art, it inspires some kind of challenge or promotes some type of thought process. If I can make something that seems incongruous, that the viewer has to work to place, then maybe the piece has been successful. Though the work could also simply be dismissed as inconsequential by the viewer, and that would be an equally valid response – and perhaps make the work just as worthwhile.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
I think the biggest challenge facing artists today, is to be able to make work that counters convention or has some worth beyond being a commodity. Certain members of society continue to be so marginalized, and there continues to be such profound injustice and inequality in society, that it is a challenge to make art that does not seem inconsequential in the face of these problems. So if an artist can make work that breaks the mold slightly, that challenges the status quo or the dominant ideology, and presents a new vision, then I think that artist is contributing to society and promoting a freedom of thought and expression that is as essential as ever.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I am currently working on a group show in LA, which should take place this year or early next year. The details will go up on my website (patrick-rees.com) and Instagram closer to the date. I am also represented here in LA by a gallery called, Ghost Gallery LA (@ghostgalleryla), run by the amazing artists Ruben Vincent (@rubenvincentstudios) and Abby Sin (@abbysin_fineart).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Patrick Rees

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