Artist StatementMy work predominantly focuses on African American history and highlights the role the distant, and not-so-distant, past has in the cultivation of our current political and social conditions in the United States. My practice is heavily research based. The majority of my studio time is dedicated to that research to ensure that the historical and social narratives I present are best represented. My figurative work is based on archived images. In my work, I strive to make sure the mechanical sources are evident. Showing that these portraits were modeled after daguerreotypes, film, newspaper clippings, and digital images is just as important as the subject matter they represent. I am investigating the different ways images, in those varying forms, structure the way we visually comprehend our history and define our present. I also focus on wood working and the fabrication and aesthetic reimagining of historical documents. I design and build stylized wood frames to house my work in. These frames are as much a part of the artwork as the portraits and papers within them. Each piece’s frame design references the graphic, interior, and architectural design of the subject matter’s time period. The creation of documents is a way to stimulate thought on the subjects my work cover, and offers a visually pleasing vehicle through which to incorporate important text. In our culture, especially in public spaces, when a document or an image is framed, it suggests importance. Often, the history I am highlighting isn’t given its correct context or due respect in mainstream histories. This work aims to change that.
Jason Patterson is a history base artist focused on the African American history of Maryland's Eastern Shore.