Curtis Patterson: Journey Through at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond

By December 08, 2022
two abstract obsidian sculptures on white podiums in a white gallery space
Works from the Curtis Patterson’s series, Shango’s Friends (2021). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Akin To Realism: MELISSA HUANG AND CHRISTINA A. WEST on view at Swan Coach House Gallery through February 9
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Montgomery Bus Stop (1989) and Water for Mandela (1987). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Detail of Monk’s Moods (2018). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond presents a solo exhibition by Atlanta-based artist Curtis Patterson. Journey Through showcases a selection of bronze and steel abstract sculptures from the 1980s to today. Patterson’s unique command of materials and his dynamic compositions point toward an illustrious, decades-long career as a sculptor of engaging and often large-scale public works.

A native of Louisiana, Patterson’s experience of growing up during the Civil Rights Movement informs the subject matter and the symbolism in his work. With inspirations in art history ranging from Hale Woodruff to Henry Moore, Patterson’s large-scale sculptures and multi-dimensional wall works emphasize a spectrum of African diasporic experiences within the context of modern and contemporary art. His abstract approach is also inspired by a longtime interest in improvisational jazz. Motifs and forms in the Rocker series, for example, encourage an interpretive dialog between the artist, the artwork, and the viewer. These slot-fitted, interlocking, geometric shapes provide balance and kinetic movement.

Other works on view, such as Shango’s Friends, highlight his continuous use of African symbols, such as the Yoruba double ax and double iron as visual elements that, in his words, “pay tribute to domestic labor implemented by people of African descent.” From his 1980’s series Unbroken Connections, which celebrates such leaders as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela, to his most recent mask-inspired wall reliefs Diasporic Reflections, Patterson demonstrates a longstanding commitment to “raising consciousness about a people who have given so much of themselves.”

from the exhibition text

Works from Curtis Patterson’s series, Shango’s Friends (2021). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Detail of Montgomery Bus Stop (1989). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
From left to right, Spiral (2011) and Montgomery Bus Stop (1989). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Detail of Spiral (2011). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Akin To Realism: MELISSA HUANG AND CHRISTINA A. WEST on view at Swan Coach House Gallery through February 9
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From left to right, January, February, April, August, September, October (2021). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
From left to right, Study for Shango’s Friends 2 (2022), Study for Shango’s Approach (2022), Study for Shango’s Friends 1 (2022). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.
Ancestral Dance (2020). Courtesy the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

Curtis Patterson: Journey Through is on view at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond through January 8, 2023.

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