Redline Artist in Resident in Denver, CO Daisy Patton’s series, Forgetting is So Long, blends the lines between fact and fiction by engaging viewers in both art theory and emotional connections to their personal past. In this series Patton uses recycled found photographs of strangers mounted onto panels that peak through layers of paint. The result of this process renders both surreal and comical visions of reality reminiscent of a few of Patton’s artistic inspirations such as Marlene Dumas and Ellen Gallagher. Forgetting is So Long speaks to the 21st century question of preserving one’s memories in the digital age and the disappearance of the photograph as an object for truth telling. Her work seeks not to destroy or separate the genres of painting and photography but highlights the advent of reincarnating the object-hood of photographs.

The masks of color that obstruct the faces of Patton’s figures in Forgetting is So Long are a part of the rich conceptual component of her work that draws ideas from art history and the science of memory. Patton conveys that conceptual backing is essential to her work as she aspires for viewers to “…have something to react to even if you don’t have a background in art.” The ambiguity of her subjects allows for universal ideas of family values and emotional memory to ruminate and disturb the viewer. She describes her process of taking found snapshots and studio pictures and applying color to the surface as if she is creating a second life for the unnamed subjects “… who are there in the images but not quite present.” Patton echoes Roland Barthe’s assertion of punctum in his text Camera Lucida describing the connections between memory and presence in photography. He states, “What photography reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the photograph mechanically repeats what never could be repeated existentially.”[1]

While she is a resident at Redline, Patton applies her passion for art literacy by working on a community project with the Denver based non-profit E.P.I.C. Arts (Educational Partnership Initiative for the Creative Arts). One-on-one mentorship is imperative to Patton, not only to engage students by developing skills in photography and digital media, but also to create opportunities to gain insight and feedback from those without an art background. Patton looks forward to her second year at Redline for opportunities to become more involved in the Art Corps program working with homeless and transient youth and also to create more opportunities for artistic dialogue and critique with other Redline residents. The open studio environment at Redline is new for Patton who had primarily worked from her home studio but views this as a new space where she can have conversations and give and receive insight that assists her in better explaining and interpreting her work.

Look for Patton’s upcoming contribution to the group show at Redline in spring of 2015 that corresponds with a series of exhibitions in the upcoming year on the actions and ideas centered around the word “play.” Her new series, So Long Farewell, documents over 300 plus species of endangered animals from North and South America. Gallery-goers can engage with this interactive piece by viewing Patton’s animal drawings on 3 ½ by 3 ½ cards in a giant in-gallery memory card game. Moreover, the jovial nature of this piece is juxtaposed with Patton’s interest in creating real life connections to her work as she addresses the need to preserve and protect nature. Ironically, Patton creates the endangered species in her upcoming memory card installation in a manner much like the people in her series Forgetting is so Long reminding of us that we all have the ability to fade into pieces of photographic memories.

-A. Leedy

Daisy Patton resides in Denver (2014-2015) and is in her first year residency at Redline. Her work can be viewed at Redline Art Gallery and Michael Warren Contemporary in Denver.

Endnotes:

[1] Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, Trans. Richard Howard, Hill and Wang, New York, (1982).