Not alive but not quite dead, newly imagined and altered portrait straddles the lines between memory, identity, and death by Daisy Patton

From Los Angeles, California, Daisy Patton moved back and forth between Oklahoma and California during her childhood. She spent much of her early years reading adventure and detective tales, history and art history books, and ghost stories. Patton’s practice is focused on history, memory, and social commentary stemming from this youth soaked in such specific cultural landscapes. Her work explores the meaning and social conventions of families, little discussed or hidden histories, and what it is to be a person living in our contemporary world.
Currently residing in Aurora, Colorado, Patton has a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Oklahoma with minors in History and Art History and an Honors degree. Her MFA is from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University, a multi-disciplinary program. Patton received the Montague Travel Grant for research in Dresden, Germany, and she was also awarded a position as an exchange student at the University of Hertfordshire, UK while an undergraduate. Patton has completed artist residencies at RedLine Contemporary Arts Center in Denver, the Studios at MASS MoCA, Eastside International in Los Angeles, and Anythink Libraries in Colorado; she will be an artist in residence at Anderson Ranch in fall 2017. Exhibiting in solo and group shows nationally, K Contemporary represents Patton in Denver.
Recent series of works: Forgetting is so long, 2016-2017

“Defacement is the confrontation with death and dislocation…”—Michael Taussig, Defacement

They say we die two deaths: the first is our actual passing; the second is when the last person who remembers us takes their final breath. Family photographs, vessels of memory, are integral to extending this quasi-life. They show a mother, a child, a past self, full of in-jokes and the mundane meaningful only to a select few. But divorced from their origins, these emotion-ridden images become unknowable and lost in translation, for they are intrinsically entwined with the intimate memories of someone. These images are timeless because photography can forever capture a moment—so much so that they have outlived their families and purpose, becoming orphans. As we drown in an overwhelming visual culture, what place does an old family photo have outside their original home?

In Forgetting is so long, I collect abandoned, anonymous family photographs, enlarge them past their familiar size, and paint over them. I paint to disrupt, to reimagine, to re-enliven these individuals until I can either no longer recognize them or their presence is too piercing to continue. Family photographs are sacred relics to their loved ones, but unmoored the images become hauntingly absent. Anthropologist Michael Taussig states that defacing these types of objects forces a “shock into being;” suddenly we perceive them as present, revered, and piercing. By mixing painting with photography, I lengthen Roland Barthes’ “moment of death” (the photograph) into some semblance of purgatory. Not alive but not quite dead, each person’s newly imagined and altered portrait straddles the lines between memory, identity, and death. They are monuments to the forgotten.

All works in this series are mixed media paintings (oil-painted photo prints), mounted on panel.

A note on titling: all the paintings are technically untitled, but if there is any written information on the found photograph, that is included in parentheses. Otherwise, the bracketed wording is a general description.

Find out more about the artist: www.daisypatton.com