There-There Art Gallery Premiers Patrick Braden Woody
Patrick Braden Woody delivers his first solo exhibition Cloth Mother, Wire Mother at the newly established There-There Art Gallery on Fountain in Hollywood. Minimalistic yet provocative, Woody’s art deals with his experience growing up with single mother Patricia Gould, a deeply religious, homophobic woman. He terms her his ‘primary collaborator’ as his work draws from the context of their tortured relationship. Her rejection of his queerness is at the core of his artistic expression, and displayed through his materials which draw from memories of his past.
Walking around the show carefully curated and installed by Woody himself engrosses us with his archival works, as they trace the psychopathological effects of his mothers’ homophobia. Through letters she wrote to him, a polaroid of Woody wearing a costume with make-up as an eleven year old, as well as a cross-stitched canvas of intricately woven X’s, Woody explores his religious upbringing and connection to the maternal. His mother was a master seamstress and she taught her son how to sew and craft when he was young. He weaves and stitches together sentiments of love and suppression, self realization and rejection through his art. Woody answered some questions for Flaunt about his show, which will be up until June 23rd.
Flaunt: How does it feel having this be your first solo exhibition?
Woody: It’s cathartic – I’m physically exhausted yet emotionally exhilarated.
Flaunt: What is the narrative that these pieces revolve around and how did your childhood experience shape your artistic practice and 'collaboration' with your mother?
Woody: These pieces revolve around a narrative between my mother, myself, and the conflict that exists between her conservative political views and my queer sexuality.
I was raised in a military town (Colorado-Springs Colorado) by my evangelical mom who made it clear to me at an early age that I was not allowed to express my sexuality or femininity around her. Although we wouldn’t talk about my queerness directly, my mom (who’s a master-seamstress) would include me in her world of feminine handcrafts – teaching me how to sew, knit and cross-stitch at an early age.
My current art practice utilizes this shared language of handcrafts as a means to engage my mom with projects that examine formative moments of my childhood trauma, sexuality and gender development.
Flaunt: How does memory function within your work?
Woody: Memory is a constant active agent in my art practice. Sometimes I’m forced to remember. Sometimes I’ll will myself to remember... Remembering in order to open up – to rework the memory, to reinterpret the memory, to overcome the memory. This can be a really painful process, especially in the face of traumatic memories, which are remembered three times more vividly than happy or emotionally neutral memories.
Flaunt: Can you talk about some of the formal decisions that led you to use certain materials for your art and what do they represent?
Woody: One piece in the show, Untitled (White on White) is a four by four-foot white square, which from a distance looks like a monochrome painting, but upon closer inspection the viewer realizes it’s made from thousands upon thousands of white cross-stitched X’s hand sewn into the surface of the white canvas. With this piece I was interested to explore a psychological space that veers between the meditative and the masochistic, the transcendent and the repressed.
I use the term “the aesthetics of repression” to describe most of what I make. I’m interested in what seeps out of a thing when that thing is being constricted by powers beyond its control.
Flaunt: What can we expect from you to come?
Woody: I’m currently working on a book that chronicles the last seven years of artwork I’ve made about my mom. I’m also premiering a new video this September on two digital billboards in West Hollywood above the Sunset strip.
Written by Molly Simon