Edward Patterson is an oil painter who favors rustic landscapes and homespun subjects that hearken back to an earlier, simpler time. His portrait of an aging waitress at the Ordinary Restaurant in Nashville, Lula
, is stunningly photo-real. She's pictured in an old fashioned pink dress, hands clasped together over a Bible. There's a dignity in her pose that's hard to deny. And if this painting is out of touch with these confusing times, well, therein lies its potential appeal to Americans hungry for nostalgia. The problem comes when such portraiture misfires in terms of its thematic or conceptual content.
Intruders portrays a man--"the model is of Cherokee extraction," according to the artist--saddled on a horse in the middle of the forest. The subject, in traditional headdress, has an expression on his face that seems rather uncomfortable (according to Patterson, he was afraid of his horse). The painting seems focused on radiating the subject'nobility. But it falls flat. At the same time, you can sense a fairly complicated relationship between artist and subject. The irony, entirely unintentional, feels oddly contemporary.
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