Patrick Puckett: “Monsteras”
Wally Workman Gallery, June 1 – 23
by Holly Cowart
There’s a strange connection that occurs when viewing one of Patrick Puckett’s paintings. Surely it’s a place you’ve never seen before and faces you’ve never met, but they very well could be — and that’s exactly the point. Born in Mississippi, the figurative painter received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts before moving to Austin in 2005. His depictions are often imagined, a timeless evocation of Southern living rooted deeply in nostalgia, though he occasionally draws upon the city’s surroundings for inspiration.
This June, Puckett returns to the Wally Workman Gallery for a sixth time with his latest exhibition, “Monsteras.” “I was flipping through a book of Henri Matisse’s work, and there was a photo of monstera plants in his studio,” explains the artist. “Like Matisse, I focus a lot on the negative shapes in my work and can’t think of a plant that produces them more organically than the monstera.” Once again opting for abstraction, Puckett’s pronounced and deliberate strokes spread across the large-scale canvases, his color palette distinct and arresting. Next to varying shades of green, a vibrant red engulfs the blank, staring figures, intensifying the otherwise everyday moments. The longer you look, the more your perspective influences the image’s narrative, and before you know it, the observer becomes the observed.