Ebony G. Patterson’s Latest Work “Roses” at Pérez Art Museum Miami
“…while the dew is still on the roses…” is the first exhibition by Ebony G. Patterson at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Patterson is a Jamaican visual artist who explores questions of gender, violence, globalism, and the subjugation of black and brown people through mixed media, video, illustration, and painting. In her newest collection, Patterson created a garden viewers can walk through and explore the largest collection of her work.
Gardens are proof positive of humanity’s dominion over the natural world. When we create gardens we express our ability to force the natural world to conform to our own vision. Cultivated elegance for aesthetic pleasure of the viewer, is an indication of our desire to control the natural environment around us.
Patterson creates a fully-immersive garden, in order to explore the exploitation of oppressed peoples while using post-colonial Jamaica as a backdrop.
She juxtaposes the bodies of her subjects against the ornate and highly manicured garden scenes, drawing focus to the subjugation of marginalized peoples through violence, assimilation, and economic disparity.
“When we think about black and brown bodies within the context of working class people… they’re always seen as.. the people who are least within the society,” says Patterson of her work.
By depicting the beauty and vibrance of black youth culture, Patterson guides the viewer into contemplating the plight of the disenfranchised at the hand of global economic powers.
The ornate floral tapestries that line the gallery walls, covered in the glittering gems and jewels of Mardi Gras, are produced by Walmart, a commentary on the ability of the working class consumer to access works of art once relegated to the ruling class.
“…moments we cannot bury…” take over half the garden scene, which are moments from the collective memory that cannot be buried in the ground, reminding us of another function of the garden: to commemorate the dead. Glass teddy bears, high heels, and clutches adorn beautiful flower mounds celebrating the vivid memories of those who are gone.
“I’ve often been interested in how the garden also relates to the grave… and I was interested in this possibility of having the audience literally walk through what essentially I am treating as a grave,” said Patterson of the exhibition.
“…while the dew is still on the roses…” is the largest collection of Patterson’s work to date, conceived as one cohesive set, featuring 12-13 individual works within it, produced over the last five years. The brilliant work is on display now at the Pérez Art Museum Miami through May 5th, 2019. Get your tickets here.