Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jehra Patrick - Painter

Lorna Simpson – Medtronic | Oil on canvas | 96 x 60 inches | 2011
Jehra Patrick

Name: Jehra Patrick
City/State: Minneapolis, MN
Website: profile:


Jehra Patrick is a visual artist who works out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her current project questions the development of art by taking visual and historical cues from museums and galleries as the subject of new paintings and photo-based work.

In addition to her work as an artist, Jehra is Project Coordinator for, where she supports Minnesota’s art community through on-line resources and offline programs, including CSA: Community Supported Art with Springboard for the Arts, the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Photographers, and programming in collaboration with the Walker Art Center, including Drawing Club and mnartists.marketplace

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My current work developed out of my interest in situating myself as a painter and creating my own definition of what it means to paint now.  I found myself, like many contemporary painters, looking backwards to painting’s recent history and synthesizing approaches to paint and to subject matter.  This process of ‘looking backwards’ made me really aware of the channels that art is located and consumed – from books, to museums, to ArtForum, to the internet - these sources all aided in forging my personal relationship with art.  I looked to museums as an ending place for the medium of painting.  As a physical ending - that’s where they hang and that’s where they rest in collections – and also an ending as being a triumph for an artist….if your work is in a museum, that is a measure of success.

Acknowledging this system lead me to take the museum – the institution or art galleries…where art goes - as my subject. I work with gallery preparators and document exhibition spaces as they transition between shows, taking interest in the way the space transforms and the architecture of the presentation space.  I also work with museum archives, looking back to past exhibitions, how they where presented and documented.  Within these images, I find moments and cues that resonate with my own relationship to art history – studs on a gallery wall might look like Daniel Buren stripes or photocopied install shots remind me of my photo-copied art history assignments.

The subject matter of this project has evolved from my past work – which was more interested in image making strategies from present-day….social media, google images search results, language of camera phones….. – but working with found imagery and appropriation have been constants in my work.

"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?

I think audiences are skeptical.  They want to know what makes art, art. They also want access.  They want to go behind the scenes.  I think artists are skeptical too.  They want the freedom to make art be anything and everything, but they also want criteria.  Artists are aware and they have their own perceptions of different mechanisms in the ‘art world.’  The work I present is a personal language system, and could be considered insular of the art world, but I think it also opens up room for a tiered encounter. I think the work holds up well and is, on it’s veneer, very approachable.  I think upon further investigation, there’s more to chew on for those who are interested.  I hope to continue developing my work with alternate points of entry.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Work hard and be courteous. There’s nothing worse then a lazy, high-maintenance artist.

Tell me about your work space and your creative process.

My process is really research-driven. At this point in my career – balancing my career as a studio artist with a day job in arts administration - I don’t have the luxury to really hit the studio and crank out a lot of work. I spend about 60% of my time researching, reading, writing and reviewing images, taking notes on these images, building up a ‘shortlist’ of images that would develop well as paintings. It’s not a perfect process, but this allows me to be really efficient when I actually role my sleeves up and produce work. So, I guess my work-space is part laptop, part couch, part actual studio.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Alyssa Baguss
Luci Kandler
Ruben Nusz
Megan Simonsen
Scott Stulen
Margi Grill
Drew Peterson
Jeremy Schock
John Vogt
Luke Aleckson
Bruce Tapola
Melba Price
Doug Forbes
Alexa Horochowski
Karl Raschke
David Rathman
Allen Brewer
Oakley Tapola
Joe Sinness
Jesse Draxler/Bloodtime
Peter Happel Christian

I’m sure there are a ton more I am forgetting – there’s a lot of talent in this state.

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

We would probably start by reading my twitter feed for a while.  Honestly! That’s not to say that reading and viewing online goes anywhere near the amazing experience of viewing art in person – there’s no comparison – it’s just how I like to stay informed and it allows me to view a lot of work quickly and often. For brick-and-mortar venues - I’m probably leaving some good ones out - but here are a few of my favorite local places to see new work:

Soo Visual Art Center
Minneapolis Institute of Art (MAEP Gallery!)
Walker Art Center
XYandZ Gallery
Midway Contemporary Art
Franklin Art Works
Burnet Art Gallery
If we wanted to take a little road trip I would recommend the Rochester Art Center

And whenever you have the opportunity, I love to see art and artists in their studios. Sure, formal presentation suits the work best, but I love chatting with artists and hearing what they are working on or just hanging out where the action happens.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?

Twitter. I get SO much of my art news – local, national, international – from the sources I follow on twitter. Facebook is also a great tool because you can see what fellow artists are making (or what their kid made, or what they saw in the park) or who’s going to what local opening or event. This is where I get my news from other people that I actually know. Twitter is great because you can basically customize your own stream of information and just get arts news that’s relevant for you.

And of course:
and is great for your art opening scheduled each weekend

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

I have an exhibition opening at Soo Visual Art Center, New Museal, which runs February 11–March 25, 2012.  Please join me for the opening reception on February 11 from 6–9 pm!

I will also have an upcoming exhibition at the Rochester Art Center in May and our Jerome Fellowship exhibition in early fall. A busy year for sure!

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