Artist StatementThis collection of paintings is modeled on a set of my childhood drawings that I rediscovered last year. In the original pieces, I had drawn directly on a number of reprinted black and white photographs in a book documenting travels through the American West. Upon viewing my drawings anew, I saw the work of a child attempting to subvert the quaint narrative of the photographs. He was refusing to play the role of passive observer, and was instead exerting control by injecting his own perceptions and memories into that narrative. As an adult, I can now see the impulsive and at times furious manner in which the drawings were created. In this collection of paintings, I explore the underlying psychology and aesthetic choices in the original drawings. Converting the original drawings into paintings is first and foremost an act of re-contextualization. As an artist, I’m now able to apply tools that were not at my disposal as a child and, in so doing, elevate what was not originally intended as art into an art context. In these new pieces, I alter through color choices and stylization the photographs that served as the backdrop for the original drawings. I further enhance them by emphasizing certain elements, and adding or removing others. I then recreate each drawing on top of the new painted backdrop, preserving the expressive mark-making of the original childhood drawings. This conversion undermines the ‘truth’ inherent in all photographs and, here, obscures the historical narrative of these photographs. The painted backdrops take on a pseudo-historical quality similar to that of memories. They are surreal doubles that more effectively embody the conflation of foreign and personal histories that make up this new narrative. By then overlaying my childhood drawings, I further impose my own narrative. The combined effect amplifies the dual perspectives of child and adult through which the finished works can be understood. In creating these new works, I felt a sense of collaboration with my younger self, having transformed his forgotten drawings into mature, emotionally-charged pieces that exhibit the control of a trained artist while remaining true to the raw childhood emotion that inspired them.
Sean FitzPatrick was raised in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York and now lives and works in Baltimore, MD. In 2012 he received his BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. FitzPatrick has exhibited work in New York, Virginia, and throughout Maryland. Recent exhibitions include Stage Fright at Gallery CA (MD), Juvenescence at the Silber Art Gallery (MD), Baltimore Artists + Mera Rubell + WPA = Love at Marianne Boesky Gallery (NY), Select 2014 at Artisphere (VA), and BMRE at the University of Maryland University College (MD).