Ebony G. Patterson, born in Jamaica, 1981
Golden Rest – Dead Treez, 2015
Mixed media jacquard tapestry with handmade shoes and crocheted leaves
Gift of Speed Contemporary, with generous additional support from Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham, 21C, Ghislain d’Humieres, Miriam Ballert, Leslie and James Millar, Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Callen, Adele and Leonard Leight, and Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. and Anne Brewer Ogden 2016.2 a-c
Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
The politics of visibility and invisibility play a central role in Patterson’s practice. In the center of Golden Rest – Dead Treez, a figure lies on the ground, his body blending in with the richly adorned background of the tapestry. The figure’s skin is rendered invisible, making his golden garments the only indicator of his presence. Patterson based the composition of this image off photographs circulating on social media of victims of violence. Creating elaborate costumes of her own design (loosely inspired by the exuberant aesthetics of dancehall culture), Patterson dressed her models and then photographed them. She then manipulated these images so that all traces of skin tone and identification are erased. The figure’s semi-disintegration into the tapestry recalls the ease at which victims of violence disappear from the public’s consciousness. The vacant pair of shoes on the floor underscores the sense of loss and memorialization Patterson associates with these victims.