The immediate past executive director of the National Gallery of Jamaica, Dr. Veerle Poupeye, recently published an article on Jamaican artist Ebony G Patterson’s recent trajectory, successes, and forthcoming plans. Here are excerpts; read the full review at the Jamaica Observer. Poupeye writes:
We have only just reached March and it is already evident that 2018 is shaping up to be an amazing year for Ebony G Patterson, the Jamaican artist who has arguably put contemporary art from Jamaica on the international map. She has received three major awards since the start of the year alone: the 2017 Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant (which was announced in February 2018), as well as the prestigious United States Artists Award and the Stone & DeMcguire Contemporary Art Award.
The Tiffany Foundation Grant seeks to support outstanding artists to “produce new work and push the boundaries of their creativity” and the prestigious United States Artists Award is given to 45 artists and collectives who, in the words of that award’s President and CEO Deana Haggag, “produce some of the most moving, incisive and powerful artistic work in this country”. The Stone & DeMcguire Contemporary Art Award is given to outstanding alumni of the Sam Fox School of Art, Washington University in St Louis, where Patterson obtained her MFA in 2006. [. . .]
Meanwhile, Patterson is also preparing for a major solo exhibition, titled … while the dew is still on the roses…, at the Perez Art Museum in Miami (PAMM), along with several other solo exhibitions, at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago and the Baltimore Museum of Art, just to name two. The PAMM exhibition is curated by Deputy Director/Chief Curator Tobias Ostrander and, Patterson disclosed to me, will take the form of an immersive, mixed media installation, which expands on the idea of the garden as a site for her recent meditations on black visibility/invisibility, gender and the black body, disempowerment and self-actualisation, and violence and death —a sort of perverse Garden of Eden in reverse, in which the natural and the artificial are seamlessly mixed, and which takes inspiration, and its title, from Olive Senior’s famous poem Gardening in the Tropics. This installation will incorporate new and older work, including the Bush Cockerels multi-channel video Ebony has previously shown at the National Gallery of Jamaica, which is in my estimation one of her most outstanding works to date, and will have the exuberantly embellished visual and material qualities her work is known for. If you are in the Miami region between November 8, 2018 and August 18, 2019, make sure to visit PAMM!
And while 2018 is shaping up to be exceptional, Patterson’s achievements in recent years have been consistently outstanding. In 2014, she was the recipient of the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Aaron Matalon Award for the most outstanding work in the inaugural, 2014 Jamaica Biennial —she presented two installations at Devon House that year. In 2015, she had a solo exhibition, … when they grow up, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and another solo project, Dead Treez, was in 2016 shown at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. She was also featured in the Sao Paulo Biennale in 2016 and in the Prospect 3, in New Orleans, in 2015. In 2016, she also was commissioned to do an installation, titled … PRESENT for Barneys’ Christmas windows in New York City and, just before the close of 2017, she received the Tiffany Foundation biennial award. This, too, is just a sampling of what is a truly impressive line-up of recent accomplishments.
[. . .] Her achievements have also helped to open doors for other young and emerging artists from Jamaica and to attract the international spotlight to contemporary art in the Caribbean. So we need to recognise and celebrate her achievements and this article seeks to contribute to that.
Ebony Patterson has always insisted on her personal and artistic groundedness in Jamaica as “home” and she states that she could not imagine living and working in the USA without maintaining that vital connection. She remembers gratefully that she was helped a lot by her teachers and other art supporters while she was a young art student and artist in Jamaica and, honouring this legacy, she takes “giving back” to the local art community very seriously. She has mentored and contributed to the development of several younger artists here, for instance by sponsoring the recent artist residencies of Camille Chedda and Kelley-Ann Lindo at Alice Yard in Trinidad, and she has assisted with tuition and project funding to deserving art students. And, heeding the advice given to her by her teacher and mentor Cecil Cooper, she has continued to work and exhibit regularly in Jamaica, where she maintains her main home. [. . .]
[Photo above: Ebony G. Patterson. Courtesy of the Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.]
Also see more on the artist at https://uknow.uky.edu/arts-culture/uk-artistprofessor-ebony-g-patterson-wins-coveted-united-states-artists-fellowship