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ARTIST STATEMENT

For more than 35 years I have been painting about the relationship between horses in the modern world and humans that control them. While I have a special affinity for this particular animal, I'm incorporating my concern for all animals and our ethical responsibilities and interactions. My work has had to overcome the stigma of a “soft subject” (babies, butterflies etc.) and the association with traditional sporting art. If I say I paint horses, you almost certainly expect something quite different from these.

 

I was lucky enough to have been born into a family of artists and creative people, and my path as an artist was never a conscious choice but as natural as breathing. While I’ve created diverse other works in many media, the horse paintings are the works for which I am best known. I've been involved with horses and "horse people" for most of my life. Add to this mix an often overwhelming feeling of empathy for animals that has always been part of my nature, and the impetus for this body of work is clear.

 

Horses delight me visually as no other form does, but it is also their nature, their relationship with us through history and their loss of place in the modern world that engages me. I've seen horrendous and unforgivable things done to these gentle, vulnerable animals in the name of sport, and I've seen them transform the wheelchair bound into radiant centaurs. For most people the centuries of daily contact with this creature have been replaced by anthropomorphic symbols and idealized images, but anyone who has not had to care for one has no sense of how contrary to those images is the reality. They are not powerful, noble, wild, free, or even competitive in the way people are comfortable perceiving them; in fact it is a constant battle to keep them from getting hurt so they will remain "useful" to us. The vast majority develop ulcers. They are not sports cars. They are not plows, betting machines or tickets to glory. They are sentient, yielding, enormously generous creatures who are literally not allowed to live if they do not cooperate. But when there is true harmony and understanding, what a human and a horse can create can take your breath away. I love Dressage, which is very much like Ballet. It is incredibly complex and it takes years to train both horse and rider to make their dance look effortless. As much art as sport, it is kinder to the horse in many ways than other roles, as long as the trainers, owners and riders consider welfare as important as performance.

 

In my work I try to convey that vulnerability, the fragile nature and their physical and emotional similarities to ourselves. It should be  harder to mistreat a creature at your mercy when you admit that it feels what you do but can't express it.  Our species is not interested in leaving anything to exist for its own sake, and we have left no room for horses to be allowed to live in the wild. Cattle ranchers consider them a nuisance because they drink water, and they are rounded up and slaughtered by the Bureau of Land Management. Auction houses are constantly selling unwanted, injured or used up animals to meat slaughterhouses, which involves horrible transport conditions to Mexico and Canada and death we don’t want to know about.

 

The growing number of therapeutic riding facilities all over the country is testament to the recent realization that there is something much deeper than the normal human-pet bond with horses. We haven’t yet been able to explain why a silent autistic child suddenly starts talking when put on a horse, or why disabled or troubled riders are so profoundly benefitted by their interactions. I’m so grateful to these places that have found a new role for outcast or imperfect horses and the chance for us to learn from them.

 

Horses now have to be of use to us to have any place in the world. But there should be a contract that must be honored here. It must be our responsibility to do no harm, to be aware, to give as well as take, and in return for working for us, let them be allowed some freedom to be the grazing, moving, herd animals they were designed to be.

 

The life size paintings really seem to touch people, particularly when placed in urban settings. I try for a stillness contrary to our constant sensory maelstrom, an arresting and alluring image that invites questioning. Possibly the horse does evoke a "race memory" of something that is lacking in contemporary urban life and touches the subconscious of some viewers. 

 

When non-horse people want or respond to my work, I’ve done it right.

 

—Patricia Powers M.F.A.

Hudson, NY, 2019

 

 

 

ARTIST RÉSUMÉ

 

ONE PERSON EXHIBITIONS

            “Patricia Powers (and invited friends)” Polo West, Wellington FL, 2018

            “Patricia Powers” Artist in Residence, Global Festival, Wellington FL, 2016

            “Patricia Powers Selected Works” McDaris Gallery, Hudson NY 2016

             Inaugural Exhibition, The Gallery at WEF, Wellington FL, 2011

            “Patricia Powers: The Horse in the Modern World”, McPhail Gallery at White Fences,

                 Loxahatchee FL, 2010

            “Selected Works”, McPhail Gallery at White Fences, Loxahatchee, FL 2006, 2008

            “Patricia Powers Horses” Hits Saugerties, Saugerties NY, 2004

            “Patricia Powers: Paintings”, Chisholm Gallery, Pine Plains NY 2002

            “Patricia Powers”,  Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, Camden SC, 1994

            “Patricia Powers: Selections”  Kirkland Art Center, Clinton NY, 1992

            “Patricia Powers: New Work” Studio Gallery, Millerton NY, 1988

            “Patricia Powers”,  Columbia-Greene Community College, Hudson NY, 1991

            “Patricia Powers”,  Regents Square Gallery, La Jolla CA, 1985

            “Selections 1981-85”  Bank of America International Headquarters, San Francisco, 1985

            “Patricia Powers”,  Karl Bornstein Gallery, Santa Monica CA, 1985

            “Patricia Powers”,  Fuller-Goldeen Gallery, San Francisco CA, 1984

            “Patricia Powers”,  Pace/Price Gallery, San Francisco CA, 1983

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

            Two person show, Equis Art Gallery, Red Hook NY, 2017

            McDaris Gallery, Hudson NY, 2016

            “A Horse of Course”, ArtsWestchester, White Plains NY 2013

            “Wild Things”, Loxahatchee FL, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

            Gallery 100, Saratoga NY, 2006, 2008

            Inaugural Exhibition, Turiya Modern Art, Saratoga Springs NY, 2004

            20th Century Gallery, Hudson NY, 2004

            Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Mt. Kisco NY, 

                1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

            Susan Street Fine Art Gallery, Solana Beach, CA, 1994, 1996, 1998

            “Horse Show”, Sylvia White Gallery, New York City, 1995

            “Fate of the Animals”, SAGE Arts, Berkeley CA, 1989

            Chautauqua National,  Buffalo, NY 1988, First Place in painting

            “Present Perspectives: The 20 Most Influential Women Artists in California”,

                Fresno Art Center & Museum, CA, 1987

            Two Person Exhibition, Chabot College, Hayward CA, 1987

            “Horses”, Mary Moore Gallery, La Jolla CA, 1987

            “24 x 24” Ruth Seigal Gallery, New York City, 1986

            “The Horse Show”, Cal State Stanislaus, CA, 1985

            Invitational, Emmanuel Walter Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, 1985

            Karl Bornstein Gallery, Santa Monica CA, 1984

            “Olympic Show”, Koplin Gallery, Los Angeles CA, 1984

            “Ceci N’est Pas le Surrealisme”, Fisher Gallery at UCLA; 

                 Pratt Manhattan Center, New York City, and CSU Stanislaus, CA, 1984

            Two person show, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, 1984

            Juried Arts Festival, San Francisco, 1983

            “Pets and Beasts”,  Transamerica Pyramid Gallery, San Francisco 1982,

                 Transamerica Center, Los Angeles, 1982

            Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, 1981, 1982 (with Filmmaker Scott Starck), 1983

            “In Praise of Women Artists”, Pace/Price Gallery, San Francsico CA, 1981

            Group Exhibition, Pace/Price Gallery,  San Francisco, 1981

        

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

                Struwer, Ardina. “Patricia Powers – The Big Picture”, Kentaur Magazine, 2018 vol. 1, Sweden

                Wilson, Barb. “It’s A Color-Full Life!” St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles, April 2016

                (The collection of John Hall and Michael Tompkins, and cover art)

                Potter, Elizabeth. “Patricia Powers at Mcdaris Gallery” The Country and Abroad, 2016

                Monro, Lucy. “The Power of Polo: Patricia Powers”, Equestrio Arabia, Sept/Oct, 2008

                Raff, Lyne. “Vivid Colossal: The Paintings of Patricia Powers”, Art Horse Magazine, Vol. 6, 2008

                Potter, Elizabeth. “Patricia Powers, Master Equine Artisit”,  The Country and Abroad, July 2004

                Potter, Elizabeth. “The Artwork of Patricia Powers”,  The Country and Abroad, July 2003

                McKay, Ellen. “Patricia Powers”, Country, May 1998

                Day, Jeffrey.  “Small Galleries Hang Winning Works”, The State, Nov. 12, 1993

                Hale, David.  “Present Perspectives”, Sacramento Bee, Mar. 29, 1987

                Lugo, Mark-Elliot.  “Equine Artist Powers on Verge of Stardom”, San Diego Tribune, Oct. 4, 1985

                Stutzin, Leo.  “Horse Shows”, The Modesto Bee, Nov. 10, 1985

                Thwaites, Lynette.  “Lankfords Don’t Shy at Showing Public Art”, La Jolla Light, Oct. 3, 1985

                Richardson, Elizabeth.  “A Painter for All”,  Artweek, May 4, 1985

                Ceci N’est Pas Le Surrealisme,  University of Southern California, Los Angeles,

                    1984 Exhibition Catalog, plus cover

                Hedgepeth, Ted.  “Confronting the Animals”,  Artweek, Apr. 13, 1983

                Boettger, Suzaan.  “Horses of a Different Color”, Artbeat Magazine, March 1981

                Curtis, Cathy.  “Calculated Flood of Women’s Art”, Independent and Gazette,

                    Berkeley CA,  Mar. 1, 1981

 

 

AWARDS

                Special Opportunity Stipend, New York Foundation for the Arts,  1993

                Special Opportunity Stipend, NYFA, 1992

                Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, 1991

                First Place in Painting, Chautauqua National

                    Juror: Douglas Schultz, Director, Albright Knox Art Gallery, 1988

                San Francisco Art Institute, 1983

                    Juror: Marcia Tucker, Director New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC

                    (Special Award created by the Juror for an otherwise ineligible work)

                Award in Painting, San Francisco Art Institute,

                    Juror: Henry Hopkins, Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1982    

                Award in Painting, San Francisco Art Institute,

                    Juror: Mrs. Walter Mondale, 1981

 

 

EDUCATION

                San Francisco Art Institute, Honors Program, BFA 1980; MFA 1983

                School of Visual Arts, NYC, 1968-71

                High School of Music & Art, NYC, 1965-68

 

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