The work of Charles Patrick inhabits the space between the tangible and the digital worlds, bringing together nostalgia and modernity to create bold and provocative statements.
While he uses vintage ephemera such as comics, obsolete maps and currency or old children’s books as the source for his intricately cut paper butterflies, his clean, pixelated designs seem to exchange individual emotional intent for the universal immediacy of contemporary visual language – the language of the digital age.
Targets and hearts, skulls and stars pop from the canvas, formed from dozens of butterflies which are clustered together, suspended like museum specimens on individual entomology pins. These tactile qualities - the texture of the paper, the three-dimensional nature of the work - represent a departure from, or perhaps a comment on, the flat-screen world of digital communication.
Over the last decade we have grown used to digital representations of reality in art, but Patrick is giving us something completely new here. Playing with our expectations and reversing the norms he references history, culture and nature to create ironic real-world versions of apparently digital images.
Patrick combines his love of paper, art history, and design to make pieces that are striking and beautiful, but also poignant and thought-provoking. His choice of the butterfly to be the symbolic heart of each work encourages us to reflect not only on beauty, symmetry and transience, but also on the concepts of transformation and rebirth.
Living and working between Connecticut and Massachusetts, Patrick has a background in vintage poster restoration, illustration, and printmaking. He breathes new life into his source material through his complex yet coherent process and invites us to consider not only our place in the world, but which world we are actually choosing to inhabit.