October 16, 2023
In Which World, Detroit-based artist Pat Perry (previously) conjures a sense of whiplash that characterizes modern life, particularly in middle America. “I was thinking mostly about scale, and about how all the grand, contemplative ideas in the world are peppered amongst the banality of daily life, like listening to Hannah Arendt or Richard Rhodes on audiobook while driving to Toledo to buy a matching sink and toilet off of Facebook Marketplace,” he shares. “Our experience of the world in this moment jerks us back and forth between the two poles.”
On view now at Hashimoto Contemporary, Perry’s solo exhibition peers into a range of mundane instances familiar to Midwesterners, all captured candidly and earnestly. Taking cues from home videos and Craigslist ads, the artist paints scenes cropped at strange angles—a young girl’s figure is cut off in “Brief Candle #5” —while other works hone in on the eeriness of everyday life. “Craigslist Still Life 14 (Garden of Togetherness),” for example, features two green squares pinpointing a pair of plots for sale in a cemetery. Many of the works consider how we find dignity and meaning when “far away from the hubs of power or influence,” a timeless question that feels especially pertinent in the Midwest.
While Perry’s subject matter reflects the ordinary, the paintings emphasize the empathy and understanding gained by reflecting on these seemingly common moments. The Brief Candle series is particularly important in this respect as it’s derived from YouTube videos documenting families launching bottle rockets and other fireworks near their homes. “That’s the kind of subject matter I love the most, always has been, probably always will be: the kind of thing that never seemed worth noting until you looked at it for a while longer and realized, maybe it was,” he says.
See Which World at Hashimoto Contemporary’s Los Angeles space through November 4. Perry recently completed several new murals and is preparing for an upcoming solo show next year, which you can follow on Instagram.
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