Then You Have Me Do Something Stupid Like Impersonate a Sewer Inspector

by Amy Marie Slocum


“Treehouse,” (2007). 125 x 180cm. UV Print.


“Misty,” (2014). 295 x 300 cm. Fireworks on canvas. Photo: R.Apa.

Then You Have Me Do Something Stupid Like Impersonate a Sewer Inspector

The American Academy in Rome presents SEEK AND DESTROY at the DEPART Foundation

Diving for Dr. Pepper

At Camp Kanata you had red bands green bands black bands & yellow bands. Each band ranked up to a location in the lake. If you had a green band or highest you could dive for cans of soda. The silver aluminum tops and bottom sparkled when they caught the sun's rays. The bottom of the lake always stayed cool.—G. Patterson

Grear Patterson—the young painter, photographer and filmmaker describes his life story thusly: "7 years old went to camp. – 9 got my first camera. – 11 left home alone for three weeks. – 14 lost virginity. – 15 got drunk. – 17 moved back to New York. – 19 pilots license. – 20 met the love of my life. – 24 bought a beach house."

The artist's newest solo exhibition, SEEK AND DESTROY—a follow-up to last year's FOREST THEATER presented in collaboration with The American Academy in Rome—draws on formative moments in the artist’s life through random snapshots, collected images and personal effects.

Patterson is known as an artist who interprets the past through contemporary visual language; his exhibition last year at Ellis King in Dublin used duck test paintings to represent the characters from the film Stand By Me. “The pieces refer to that moment when the group of kids discovered the dead body of their peer who has been killed. It is a kind of loss of innocence moment.”

But Patterson cannot be simply written off as another 20-something with a penchant for nostalgia. The artist thinks deeply about his influences and our cultural millieu and this can come out in unexpected ways. A recent solo show at Marlborough Broome Street features a Hokusai-style painting of an outrider canoe trapped between a rocky shoreline and a turbulent sea, which turns out to be drawn from the artist's collection of Hawaiian shirts.

SEEK AND DESTROY—curated by Peter Benson Miller—presents Patteson's artistic vision as clearly as ever: part Hardy Boy and part Holden Caulfield, the artist presents his recollections in the form of photographs, interactive installations and private relics, tapping into a broader consciousness. His works are remarkably mature ruminations upon memory, nostalgia and the hormone-fueled transition from childhood to adulthood.

GREAR PATTERSON: SEEK AND DESTROY will be on view at the

DEPART Foundation, 9105 West Sunset Boulevard

April 21–May 30, 2015