Ebony G. Patterson
Ebony G. Patterson by Monique “Mogi” Gilpin. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
For the first iteration of her touring solo exhibition “. . . while the dew is still on the roses . . .” in 2018, Ebony G. Patterson transformed the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) into what she called a “night garden.” Purple-and-blue floral wallpaper underpinned tapestries layered with glitter, lace, beads, drawings, and found objects like brooches and shoes. Blossoming faux-flowers and vines of ivy hung from the ceiling and clung to the walls.
Gardens are a frequent motif in Patterson’s practice; she invokes them as spaces of beauty and revelation, but also of death and concealment. For the artist, who is represented by Monique Meloche Gallery, gardens are “a natural metaphor for the way that society can so easily ignore violence against black bodies,” as Artsy’s Alina Cohen wrote last year in a story about the PAMM show. Patterson’s maximalist installations span media from drawing and sculpture to tapestry and video, and in their pointed materialism, they reference the violence and joy of black youth culture in postcolonial Jamaica and around the world.
Ebony G. Patterson, still from ...three kings weep..., 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
PAMM director Franklin Sirmans—who also included Patterson’s work in “Notes for Now,” the third iteration of Prospect New Orleans—admires the artist’s thoughtful use of found objects and collage. “That she is able to synthesize all of [these materials] with a profound sense of the carnivalesque into artworks that simultaneously conjure popular expression and public spectacle,” Sirmans explained, “is why she is not just a good artist, but an innovator whose work inspires others.” In 2020, Patterson’s work will be on view in solo shows at three institutions: the Kunsthal Aarhus in Denmark; the New Orleans Museum of Art; and the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis.