Atlanta-based painter Patrick Eugène’s first solo show with Mariane Ibrahim is a beautiful and affecting reflection on the past. A tribute to the incidents, immigrants, and ancestors that have brought the artist, and by extension we the viewers, to where we are today. With a loaded brush and decisive gestures, Eugène breathes life into a series of warmly hued portraits so potent that they seem to return the gaze. These people, as much real as imagined, call out with expressions of a life lived.
Eugène is self-taught and came to painting in his late 20s following an aborted career in finance. That’s a good thing. His works are guileless, free from affect and the conceptual contortions that prop up the art of the academic-industrial complex. That Eugène found his way from expressive abstraction to the clean contours of the Matissian Fanm ak flè (woman with flower) or Finding Home is a unique journey, and his figures still echo with the restless energy of earlier abstract approaches. Only now it is more concentrated.
In addition to the paintings and installation, “50 lbs.” includes an intriguing, museological tableau featuring a small, peach-colored dress surrounded by snapshots and family photos. The fulcrum around which the show pivots, the display embodies a deeper preoccupation with the past that transcends identity and legacy; instead it points to a longing for a time before the rapidly shifting juxtapositions of social media and the mobile internet irrevocably altered our relationship with being and physicality, truth and reality.
Through 5/20: Tue-Sat 11 AM-6 PM, Mariane Ibrahim, 437 W. Paulina, marianeibrahim.com
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