Fan Girl: Patrick Quarm
It’s funny how sometimes the best artwork we encounter isn’t when looking for it. Accidentally wander into a “random” gallery (like before I knew what Austin’s “Women and Their Work” was), or meet fellow artist who shares their work (usually from a well-managed Instagram feed), or in the midst of scrolling through hapless internet ravings have a suggested article that highlights an artist you never knew.
This time, I was lucky enough to pick up Patrick Quarm’s work from his Texas Tech MFA studio to help transport it to CASP Studio 4 for exhibition for the Lubbock September FFAT. I was immediately impressed with his work because it reminded me of powerhouse figurative painter, Kehinde Wiley with his use of cheery patterns and black portraiture. About five seconds later, I realized that Quarm’s work goes beyond the evocation of Western European tropes, with the Ghanaian patterned fabrics hinting at intrigue, disguise, and substitutions.
It should be said- I am a sucker for efficient paint handling. I’m also a fan girl of people that deal in other materials with equal certainty. The fabrics are sent from Quarm’s brother in Ghana by the yard, and he layers, cuts, glues, and paints each painting with intent. The confusing, layered flowers, lines, and dots merged with glimpses of paint are *so* formally pleasing- there’s a real excess in this work. These look good far away, close up, from the side...you get it. They are painting-as-object, while maintaining representational integrity. The teasing out of the figures in the work alongside the smokescreen of flagellated textiles makes me wonder just how to “read” them. If these paintings are a prelude to Quarm’s thesis exhibition (sometime in the spring) I’m really looking forward to it.
*Quarm's work will be at CASP Studio 4 as part of the "There is Only One Side: Collaborative Vigil" for the September First Friday Art Trail in Lubbock, Texas. The author's opinions are her own.