http://www.vdb.org/artists/mary-patten
http://artistregistry.artadia.org/registry/view_artist.php?aid=149
https://artic.academia.edu/MaryPatten

Bio

Associate Professor, Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (1993). BFA, 1973, Kansas City Art Institute; MFA, 1992, University of Illinois, Chicago. Exhibitions: Creative Time, New York; Exit Art, New York; Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh; Northern Illinois University Art Museum; Art in General, New York; Shedhalle, Z'rich; Cooper Union, New York; Kunstverein and Kunsthaus, Hamburg; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Chicago Cultural Center. Film Festivals: Rotterdam International; NGBK, Berlin; Chicago Underground; London Lesbian and Gay; MIX/NYC. Publications: Revolution is an eternal dream; Guide to Democracy in America; The Passionate Camera; WhiteWalls. Awards: Artadia; Illinois Arts Council; NEA. Distribution: Video Data Bank.


Personal Statement

I am a visual artist, video-maker, writer, educator, occasional curator, and a long-time community and political activist. My work crosses and combines video installation, digital media, drawing, photography, small sculptures, artists' books, and public, collaborative projects. My art, while infused with deeply-felt political ideas, is fueled by a desire to address the contradictory worlds of politics and art-making. The frailties of memory, speculative fiction, and the "archive of the everyday" are evident in my "singular" work, where I claim authorship, fully aware that there are no wholly original ideas, that we are all shifting composites of one another.

My practice is invested in experimental documentary, questioning truth claims while navigating the tricky, permeable border between "document" and "fiction." Recent and ongoing projects—video installations, experimental videos, mixed- and multi-media—investigate difficult or impossible subjects: political radicalism, terrorism, and their after-lives—condemnation, trauma, renunciation, and loss. My strategies include experimental video essay, auto-ethnography, and imaginary diary, through a "bordering on fiction" lens. I like to create speculative fictions that re-figure and transform experiences from my own checkered autobiography and remembered history. I am committed to taking on politically-charged material through a critical lens that encompasses doubt, ambivalence, emotional intelligence, and humor.

My work inventively engages audiences' thoughts and feelings about art's complex relationship to political urgency, and the persistence of utopian dreams. Revolutions sometimes kill their poets. But hyper-vigilant critique, or even a romance with failure, is often a pretext to foreclose any possibility of real social transformation.

My work proceeds from the belief that the "general public" is a myth, and that audiences are constituted through engagement with cultural forms which they in turn help shape. As a maker and a teacher, I am committed to experimental modes of participation and viewership. I'm most interested in spaces—including the classroom and the teaching studio—that create incitements for active and inventive engagement with audiences beyond the traditional presentation of art.

I have exhibited extensively in Chicago, nationally, and internationally for over thirty years. I've also devoted a lot of energy to collaborations, curatorial work, and teaching, and continue to be drawn to collective forms of art and cultural production as a way of working and being together in the world that allows for anger, joy, and reparative visions. Sometimes that means that one's singular hand slips under the radar, but I believe that's a risk worth taking.

vimeo.com/marypatten

 

Disclaimer: All work represents the views of the INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS & AUTHORS who created them, and are not those of the school or museum of the Art Institute.