Artist Daisy Patton Speaks on Her Career While Kicking Off VACI Lecture Series, Opens Exhibition ‘Lineages in Bloom’

  • Artist Daisy Patton is shown Sunday, June 23, 2019 with her exhibition Lineages in Bloom: New Works by Daisy Patton in Strohl Art Center. Patton will speak on the VACI lecture platform June 25. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR

As visiting artist Daisy Patton prepares to speak at Chautauqua Institution, she has her younger self in mind.

“Something that I found helpful as a younger artist was seeing more established artists being able to talk about their trajectory and what that looks like and what led to the moment where their work took off or made sense,” she said.

Patton’s lecture at 7 p.m. today (June 25) in the Hultquist Center will kick off this season’s Visual Arts Lecture Series. She will be giving a general overview of her artistic practice as well as discussing her exhibition, “Lineages in Bloom,” which opened this Sunday in the Arnold and Jim Bellowe Family Gallery of the Strohl Art Center.

Patton was connected to Chautauqua through Sydelle Sonkin and Herb Siegel Artistic Director of the Visual Arts Sharon Louden. She and Louden initially met through Twitter.

“Social media works out sometimes,” Patton said.

Louden visited Patton’s studio in Denver and suggested her work would fit well in the Institution’s summer exhibition season. Patton coordinated with Judy Barie, the Susan and John Turben Director of VACI Galleries, to create 22 original works specifically for the space.

“I really like to make work in the context of a show or an exhibition,” Patton said. “This was a great testing ground for a new body of work.”

“Lineages in Bloom” is a subseries of a larger project, “Forgetting is so long,” which Patton has been working on since 2014.

The project uses discarded and abandoned family photographs of which Patton has amassed a collection of more than 2,000. She finds pictures at thrift shops, antique malls and online stores, enlarges the images and paints over them with bright colors and flowers. 

“Dec 64” by artist Daisy Patton is displayed Sunday, June 23, 2019 in her exhibition Lineages in Bloom: New Works by Daisy Patton in Strohl Art Center. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR

Patton seeks to “decontextualize” the pictures.

“When I’m looking at a photograph, I’m looking to see the person outside of their place in time, and that’s what the painting is supposed to do,” she said. “We can recognize them as people again.”

In “Lineages in Bloom,” Patton has exclusively worked with portraits of women. She will expand this idea as part of a solo exhibition she plans to hold in Denver, which will focus on women and female relationships, a theme she defines “very broadly.”

Growing up with her mom, sister and grandma, Patton said female relationships were all she knew.

“For me that’s a space that’s very warm and welcoming and sort of rich,” she said.

The photographs used for “Lineages in Bloom” are dated from the 19th century to the 1970s, and come from across the country and the world, including California, Tennessee, Japan and Egypt.

“I want to be as inclusive as possible with my collection,” she said.

Due to the long-running nature of “Forgetting is so long,” Patton is constantly looking for new ways to challenge herself artistically while still remaining thoughtful toward her chosen medium.

“There’s a fine balance between painting on these photographs and wanting to be painterly, but also not wanting to be destructive, because the paintings themselves are meant to be loving remembrances and memorials of these people,” she said. “I think a lot of the time people think about defacement in terms of violence, whereas for me, it’s a loving act.”
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The author Eleanor Bishop

Eleanor Bishop is a Cincinnati native and rising senior studying journalism at Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. She is excited to (virtually) return to the Daily for her second year, where she is covering visual arts, opera and dance. When she’s not writing, Eleanor enjoys comedy, pop music and staring wistfully out windows, thinking about how she should probably be writing.