MFA, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1979
BFA, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1977


EXHIBITIONS (selected)
THE PHIPPS GALLERIES, Hudson Wisconsin (solo) (scheduled) 2020
SHIFTY, FITTON CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS, Hamilton, Ohio (3-person) (scheduled) 2020
64 ARTS, BUCHANAN CENTER FOR THE ARTS, Monmouth, Illinois (group)  2019
NNAC 2019, NICOLET ART GALLERY, NICOLET COLLEGE, Rhinelander, Wisconsin (group) 2019
2019 CONTEMPORARY ART SURVEY, THE LINCOLN CENTER, Fort Collins, Colorado (group) 2019
TIMES END, SWEETWATER CENTER FOR THE ARTS, Sewickley, Pennsylvania (group) 2019
BLOOM, SYKES GALLERY, MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY, Millersville, Pennsylvania (group) 2019
ARTPRIZE, HILTON DOWNTOWN/WATERS CENTER, Grand Rapids, Michigan (group) 2018
MICRO/MACRO, FOUNDRY ART CENTRE, St, Charles, Missouri (group) 2018
NORDART 2018, KUNSTWERK CARLSHUTTE, Budelsdorf, Germany (group) 2018
COLLECTORS CHOICE 2018, STUDIO CHANNEL ISLANDS, Camarillo, California (group} 2018
th ANNUAL THE CROW SHOW, THE STUDIO DOOR, San Diego, California (group & online) 2018
OCEAN, NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE, Queens, New York (group) 2017-2018
PRIMORDIAL BONDS, ART REACH OF MID MICHIGAN, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan (solo) 2017
ARTIST STATEMENT, CICA MUSEUM, Gimpo-si, South Korea (group) 2016
NORDART 2016, KUNSTWERK CARLSHUTTE, Budelsdorf, Germany  (group) 2016
SIGHTLINES, SOUTH BEND MUSEUM OF ART (at Century Center), South Bend, Indiana (group) 2015-2017
REFLECTIONS, BUCKHAM GALLERY, Flint, Michigan (group) 2015
NORTHERN LIGHTS, , WHITE BEAR CENTER FOR THE ARTS, White Bear Lake, Minnesota (Award of Merit / group) 2015
MAPS, CRARY ART GALLERY, Warren, Pennsylvania (solo) 2014
SUBCONSCIOUS PLANET, 621 GALLERY, Tallahassee, Florida (solo) 2013
ORGANICA, ALLIANCE FOR THE ARTS, Fort Myers, Florida (2-person) 2012
HOUSATONIC MUSEUM OF ART, Bridgeport, Connecticut (collection) 2011
SKINS, BOWERY GALLERY (INVITATIONAL), New York, New York (solo) 2011
ARTIST AND STUDIO, KIRKLAND ART CENTER, Clinton, New York (3-person) 2010
STATE OF THE STATE, MINNEAPOLIS COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 2004
AU TEMPS QUI PASSE GALLERY, Genolier, Switzerland (consign) 2000-2004
MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 2000
PHIPPS ART CENTER, Hudson, Wisconsin (group) 1997
PERSON TO PERSON, Minneapolis, Minnesota (solo) 1996
FUKUYA ART GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan (group) 1995
DIETRICH CONTEMPORARY, New York, New York (consign) 1994-1995
FAREWELL SHOW, ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1994
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2-person) 1993
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1993
ARTS ON TWO, PUBLIC TELEVISION SET, St. Paul, Minnesota (group) 1992
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (solo) 1991
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2-person) 1991
MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1990
OPPOSITES ATTRACT, ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (3-person) 1990
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1990
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1989
KLEIN GALLERY, Chicago, Illinois (consign) 1988-1989
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (3-person) 1988
ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY, St. Cloud, Minnesota (2-person) 1988
2-D ON 3-D, MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1988
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1988
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2-person) 1987
ANDERSON & ANDERSON GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (consign) 1987-1994
3” OFF THE WALL, MORE OR LESS, KATHERINE NASH GALLERY, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1986
ART MUSEUM OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, Minneapolis, Minnesota (group) 1985
BREAM GALLERY, St, Paul, Minnesota (solo) 1982
TOWN SQUARE PARK, St. Paul, Minnesota (group) 1981
BREAM GALLERY, St. Paul, Minnesota (consign) 1981-1984
GRAND AVENUE GALLERY, St. Paul, Minnesota (solo) 1980
ST. PAUL ACADEME GALLERY, St. Paul, Minnesota (solo) 1980


2019 CONTEMPORARY ART SURVEY, City of Fort Collins Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, Colorado

PDF Link


NORDART 2018, KUNSTWERK CARLSHUTTE, Budelsdorf, Germany: link to virtual tour of Robert Patrick’s paintings: =GATE=, =LILY= and =MARZ:      choose ‘Carlshutte 9-15’   then pick ‘Carlshutte 13’


The Crow Show 2018 Exhibition Catalog

SciArt Magazine blog on “Science Inspires Art: OCEAN” at the New York Hall of Science, Queens, New York 2017-2018

Exhibit open until Aug. 20 (COSMIC MYTHS)

The Commercial Review, Portland, Indiana, August 2, 2017

Robert Patrick knew he wanted to be an artist when he was a high school student in the 1960’s. But after two years in the University of Minnesota art program, he dropped out. “I joined an art commune for two years,” said Patrick, whose exhibit titled Cosmic Myths has been on display at Arts Place in Portland since July 14. “Then I was in the U.S. Army…” After a six-year break from the halls of academia, Patrick returned to eventually earn a master’s degree in art from the university. “I finally finished my MFA at the University of Minnesota,” Patrick said. “I started exhibiting and got in with Anderson & Anderson Gallery in Minneapolis for eight years. Since then I’ve been showing continuously.” His major influences in art were a number of Abstract Expressionists he met during his time at the University of Minnesota. “The University was a hotbed for AbEx expats from New York…they brought that flavor to the University’s program when I was there,” Patrick said. “I felt glad to be a part of that.” Since 2010, Patrick has shown in 17 exhibitions including at Kunstwerk Carlshutte in Germany and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in South Korea. The (Cosmic Myths) exhibit features a number of abstract, biomorphic symbols on large canvases. Patrick said the inspiration for the series came from his Abstract Expressionist roots, but also adds elements that are not purely abstract. “I end up with something that’s not a purely abstract sort of procedure, has some… suggestion of the cosmos and organic life, kind of microscopic macroscopic perspective,” Patrick said. “What I have developed from that is a biomorphic pictorial language (arising from) over 40 years of working… That is the idea behind Cosmic Myths: as in mythologies, not falsehoods.” The exhibition will continue at Arts Place through Aug. 20, and is free of charge to view. For Patrick, his work is used to evoke feelings of nature that can be found within ourselves. “I explore archetypal clues evoked visually that are recognizable irrespective of history or culture, an imagery that arises not merely from a nature we perceive but from the nature we are,” Patrick said. “I’m excited to show in venues like Arts Place in Portland. It’s a way to get out and expose my stuff to people who may not be exposed to this kind of work. I’m happy how it came out.”

ARTIST STATEMENT, CICA MUSEUM, Gimpo-si, South Korea 2016: links to images:


NordArt 2016, KUNSTWERK CARLSHUTTE, Budelsdorf, Germany: link to Robert Patrick’s page in exhibition catalog:

Images from NordArt 2016: Robert Patrick’s 4 paintings in NordArt 2016:  =ZOID= (thumbnail)  =HUNT= (thumbnail)  =BURN= (thumbnail)  =HAWK= (thumbnail)



Emial from Pat McClelland to Robert Patrick, Subject: Sinclair


The work is installed at Sinclair.
I’ve attached a few photos. More are available on the galleries’ Facebook page:

The exhibit looks great. Pictures can’t capture it. Our gallery is somewhat small and the large scale paintings fill the walls.  Their colors reflect onto the floor, ceiling, and windows.  The whole room is just flooded with color.  It creates an environment that is almost dizzying. 

Thank so much for sharing your work with us. 

Pat McClelland
, ,

"Portals" : Robert Patrick Art Exhibition in Olin
Emily Bitting
Red&Black Editor

On March 27, the Washington & Jefferson College Art Department welcomed Robert Patrick to the Olin Art Gallery with his show entitled "Portals." the show featured large-scale paintings, all created in a non-representational graphical style.

The Paintings feature bright colors and a universal feeling of movement. Patrick explains his artistic view in his artist statement. "When painting I delineate topographies of space-time by conflating visible forms in nature and the invisible energies described by landscapes of the mind," said Patrick, "the imagery a product of combining senses shaped not only by light, but by sounds, smells, touch, taste. These perceptions are synthesized and translated through a personal language of biomorphic symbols."

Patrick has been painting for 45 years and painting in this specific vein for about six years. "My paintings are large, custom made canvas tarpaulins secured to walls through grommets around their perimeters. This created a hard surface for muralist painting experiences and flatness that emphasizes area rather than object when exhibited," said Patrick. the paintings are listed as synthetic polymers on canvas tarpaulin, with Patrick placing emphasis on the synthetic polymers that make up acrylic paint.

Patrick sad that due to the larger nature of his current projects like those in "Portals," he finishes roughly 12 paintings every year. He explained that the images he ends up painting are a result of the painting process itself.

The real hook that Patrick finds in painting is art's ability to communicate information and symbols across different languages and cultures, because art is a universal form of communication.

Pat Maloney, one of W&J's art professors, was reminded of her travels. "Having lived in Africa, I connected with the pulse that the pieces evoked," said Maloney. "To me they had a sound, and they also evoked the smells of the food that I ate while I was in Ghana. Mostly they reminded me of the dances because the paintings have a great sound to them."

Amirah Moore '18 also found the paintings moving. "I thought the layers in his artwork were really interesting," said Moore. "My favorites were the ones that used purples and pinks -- they just conveyed really happy emotions to me."

Patrick's "Portals' will remain in the Olin Fine Art Gallery until April 17 and is open daily from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Woodford Courier, Washington, Illinois October 1, 2014


“Art show features patterns found in nature”

An exhibit titled “Natural Impulse” of large abstract paintings by White Bear, Minn., artist Robert Patrick will be displayed Oct.6-Nov. 21 in Burgess Hall Art Gallery at Eureka College. The works are representative of the Bio-morphism Art Movement that began in the 20th century, which models artistic design elements of naturally occurring pattern or shapes reminiscent of nature and living organisms. ”I believe we are, all of us, one being and that we perceive reality as individual selves but share in dreams common, archetypical experiences that find voice in the arts,” Patrick said. “The purpose of my painting is to interpret these dreams of our collective, primordial origins using a personal language of biomorphic symbols drawn from nature.”(excerpted) 

Times Observer, Warren Pennsylvania

SPOTLITE/focus,  ‘At the Crary’, by Rob Andersen

February 20, 2014

…Regarding his artworks, Patrick said, “my paintings are MAPS delineating topographies of time and space. These canvases  are composed by layering painted lines in skeins on untreated tarps. They are then exhibited to hang functional and unadorned, as though waiting to accompany an expedition.”

“When painting I rely on instinct and impulse as much as on planning and ideas. Acting in the moment, I draw my imagery from a conflation of visible forms in nature and the invisible energies described by theoretical physics” he added.

“I believe that all forms, whether cosmic or atomic, share common vectors. Our perceptions of self and our motivations to act in the space and time of our lives are effected by the same forces that direct the spin of galaxies and control the growth of cells.”

He said, “My real name is Robert Patrick Johnson, but in my first year of college, my sculpture teacher told me to drop the Johnson because there were too many Johnson’s in Minnesota. So now I am Robert Patrick.”

(Crary board vice-president Thomas) Paquette said, ”His work widely celebrated in Minnesota, and he has been displaying his work up and down the east coast. We are fortunate to get him.”…

Times Observer, Warren Pennsylvania

‘Youngsters introduced to art at Crary Gallery’, by Rob Andersen

March 1, 2014

…Students from Shelly Teska’s Head Start Class in Youngsville had a private tour of the Crary Art Gallery Friday, Looking at the current show featuring paintings by…Robert Patrick…

Teska said, “We read books about how to behave in art galleries, not to touch the artworks.” In the case of Patrick’s paintings, however, the Minnesota artist freely gave his permission for touching the works on tarpaulins.

She added that Thomas Paquette, the gallery’s vice-president recommended this particular show for the children…

Teska also addressed the students during the beginning of the tour, saying, “How about you look at these paintings carefully, because when you come to school on Tuesday you are going to paint some like these.”

She added that each child will paint their own creation using non-traditional items in addition to brushes, like rubber worms and combs…

Gambling the Aisle, 2013 Summer Issue

From: "Gambling the Aisle" <>
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Subject: RE: [Gambling the Aisle] A SUBCONSCIOUS PLANET by Robert Patrick (.org)


Thank you for sending us your art. We find that it embodies the risk-taking spirit that our magazine prides itself on; therefore, Gambling the Aisle is pleased to accept your work for the upcoming issue.

Please note that because of space and form considerations, we will not be able to include all of your work, but we will include as much as we are able.

You will automatically be added to our mailing list so you are notified when your edition of the magazine is published. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future.

Keep Rockin’

The Gambling Editors

‘Organica’ features work of two visually stunning artists, FLORIDA WEEKLY, week of February 22-28, 2012

The new exhibition “Organica,” featuring work by Minnesota painter Robert Patrick and Miami mixed-media and fabric artist Regina Jestrow, opens with a reception from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, at the Alliance for the Arts (Fort Myers, Florida).

Mr. Patrick creates his large, abstract paintings in his White Bear, Minn., studio. Painted on canvas tarps and pinned to the wall through metal grommets, he calls his current works “skins,” or “hunting trophies from a subconscious planet, where the self melts away and the world is seen as it truly is.” They are “the trophy hides of fantasy creatures camouflaged to dwell in the miasma of day dream,” Mr. Patrick says of his work.

Although he received degrees in painting from the University of Minnesota in 1979, and was awarded a $25,000 McKnight Foundation Fellowship in 2003, he says he’s mostly learned from “looking and doing.” His work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows, including gallery representation at Anderson & Anderson in Minneapolis, the Klein Gallery in Chicago, Dietrich Contemporary in New York and Au Temps Qui Passe Galerie in Genolier, Switzerland. His recent exhibitions include the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton, N.Y., the Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Conn. and the Bowery Gallery in N.Y.

Originally from Queens, N.Y., Ms. Jestrow graduated from the prestigious High School of Art & Design in Manhattan and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. She started quilting in 2001, and began showing her work at galleries in 2007. Now working in Miami, Ms. Jestrow describes her often oversized 3-D works as pattern driven.

“To quilt is to stitch, sew, cover and design with one’s own two hands. My work translates the movement of color and design, combining the ideas, both from the traditional art of quilting and fine art,” she says.

She says wants people to immerse themselves into her large installation pieces, and that her inspiration stems from “family values and heritage, geometric shapes, and structures that the world around me creates.”

Last year, Ms. Jestrow’s work was featured in the Miami International Airport gallery and she was a resident artist at The Bakehouse Art Complex from 2009-2011.

“Organica” will remain on display in the Alliance main gallery through March 28. Both artists will hold a gallery talk from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, March 3. No reservations are required.

Creative License: Robert Patrick and ‘trophy hides’, WHITE BEAR PRESS, White Bear, Minnesota, January 31, 2012

Q: Where are you from, how old are you, and where do you live now?

A: I was born Robert Patrick Johnson in Duluth in 1950 and was called “Pat Johnson” when I graduated from Mahtomedi High School in 1968. In 1969, an art professor at the University of Minnesota recommended that I drop “Johnson” from my name so I became artist “Robert Patrick.” We bought a house in White Bear Township in 1980 and I built a studio on the property in 1981.   

Q: How and when did you get started as an artist?

A: My father was a serious writer and there were artists and musicians on both side of the family so art was a legitimate career option. I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil.  

Q: Are you self-taught, or do you have formal training in art? If so, when and where?

A: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota, but most of what I’ve learned is from looking and doing. 

Q: In what media do you work these days?

A: Acrylic on custom-made canvas tarps. I describe them as: “Painted on flexible, unencumbered tarpaulin, my SKINS are the ‘trophy hides’ of fantasy creatures camouflaged to dwell in the miasma of daydream.”

Q: What are the most unusual materials or tools you use in your art?

A: For almost 20 years I built tied-process paintings by creating heavy-duty wooden stretcher/armatures to which I would wrap, pull and tie strips of vinyl and canvas and rope, creating a curved and knotted painting surface.  

Q: What inspires you in your art?

A: The nature of perception and how we are all connected by shared symbols for what we see and think and feel. Painting is an ancient and very basic form of communication.

My use of the trope SKINS to describe my paintings both presents them as fantasy ‘hides’ and evokes pre-historical, first painters making animal skin paintings just as they created cave murals.   

Q: How do you market your art?

A: Through galleries and onine at When visiting cities I go to their art districts and give copies of my portfolio to galleries expressing interest in my work. I also do extensive mailings.

Q: What is the most rewarding part about creating your art?

A: When I'm painting and the ‘magic’ happens. Being an artist for me means not settling for 'close' but pushing through to 'right'. At that moment you don't care who painted it, you're just happy it exists. 

Q: Do you have a "claim to fame" as an artist?

A: I have had over 40 exhibitions including gallery representation at Anderson & Anderson in Minneapolis, Klein Gallery in Chicago, Dietrich Contemporary in New York and Au Temps Qui Passe in Switzerland. Since 2010, I’ve shown at the Kirkland Art Center in upstate New York, the Housatonic Art Museum in Connecticut, and had a solo exhibition at the Bowery Gallery in New York City.

In 2003/2004, I received a $25,000 McKnight Foundation Fellowship.

Q: Are you a full-time artist?

A: I am a full-time artist and I have always had day jobs: I've been a factory foreman, taught college and am presently an account manager at Creative Laminating, a printing support services company in Golden Valley. I have found that having a life outside of art, although requiring more effort, is actually beneficial. It keeps you engaged in the world and helps focus your ‘spare’ time. 

Q: What does the immediate future hold for your art?

A: At present I am preparing for an exhibition entitled ORGANICA at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers, Fla. in March.


"Painted canvas tarps pinned to walls through metal grommets, my SKINS are hunting trophies from a subconscious planet."

On this 'subconscious planet' I dream the self melts away and the world is seen as it truly is. The senses merge: light is felt as waves heard, sound presents as shapes seen. T o evoke this 'world', I metaphorically embody it's mythical denizens through memorial. Painted on flexible, unencumbered tarpaulin, my SKINS are the 'trophy hides' of fantasy creatures camouflaged to dwell in the miasma of day dream.

Robert Patrick 2010


Collage Etudes

Just as a drawing’s linear forms can develop through continuous contextualized actions, musical equivalents may be found in the improvisational melodic ‘lines’ evident in the solo etude. Conceived of as a ‘sound drawing’ presented in ‘old oil painting’ black, gold, browns and cream, COLLAGE ETUDES is an intimate, self portrait video presentation of original jazz, folk, blues and classical etude improvisations for guitar performed extemporaneously on a hot July day in 2007.


MCAD exhibit grapples with weighty topics in fresh ways

Review: Conceptually fresh and expertly crafted, these unrelated works express their separate visions with authority, skill, historical resonance and sometimes droll humor.

Mary Abbe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 23, 2004

From freeway sprawl to surveillance, sex goddesses, original sin and race politics, the five artists whose recent work is featured at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design through Aug. 8 show a welcome talent for grappling with weighty topics in fresh ways....

...Robert Patrick pulls no punches in his three paintings on plywood, each of which depicts an 8-foot-tall mask-like face with stylized African features. Reduced to thick, undulating black lines and shadows in mauve, blue-green or rose, the brooding faces exude a powerful mix of pain, anger and determination despite their clichéd designs....

Mary Abbe

July, 2004


Artist discovers process in journey

By Dawn Aerts

Robert Patrick enjoys the unpredictable aspects of art and life.

In his own way, he has explored art the way he has approached life, with a bag of experiences that he continues to pursue in his own way.

“I really can’t ‘not’ do my work,” he says of the journey that has taken him from his birth-place in Duluth to a back-yard studio in White Bear Lake that is filled with large-scale paintings.

Robert Patrick never really planned on becoming an Artist until his senior year in high school. Mostly he was interested in football and wrestling and playing guitar in a rock band. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he entered art school for a couple years, dropped out, lived on an arts commune, played in rock bands, hitchhiked all over the country and when he hitched to ‘the end of the road’ in San Diego, joined the Army.

“At that age it’s really about getting by. I mean you’re so resilient at the age of 21, and I wasn’t attached to anything in particular,” says Patrick of those years. “In terms of self-discovery, there was no one telling me what I had to do each day – so you live pretty close to the ground.” It was those kinds of experiences that eventually led Patrick to a world of art. He says there was always that desire to discover and express something, and then, “you have these revelations.”

While Patrick eventually returned to the Twin Cities to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts through the University of Minnesota, he said his initial interest in the world of art came about through a series of family related memories.

“Actually,” says Patrick, “my dad’s brother’s were Jazz musicians and artists and my father was a writer, so my family was fairly open to the idea of self discovery in both music and art… there wasn’t any resistance to pursuing those things.”

But, he says it was long-time family friend and Abstract Expressionist painter, Herman Somberg, who caught his attention.

“Herman was involved in the New York art scene of the 1940s and ‘50s and became my college advisor as well as a life-long mentor,” explains Patrick. “I remember countless stories told at the Mixer’s Bar in Minneapolis about Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and the stories really intrigued me.”

But it wasn’t until 1977 that Patrick began to reveal his personal artistic bent through his tied process paintings and sculpture. Over the next 20 years, Patrick said his post-college work evolved into an intense physical and creative process that, in some ways, parallels his emerging work in art. “That is the one thing I have done continuously in life – to really look at art, to study the body of work done by other artists.”

He says his fascination in and passion for art took him to countless art museums and cathedrals all over the United States and Europe and into what he describes as a life-long immersion in fine arts. But it was the pivotal days of September 2001 that Patrick says intersected with his own need to re-explore the fundamental process of creating art and to take an entirely new direction as an artist.

“I’ve always been influenced by the ancient use of symbols and icons, so this became a very transitional time for me as an artist,” says Patrick.

“Up to that point, I had done some small abstract studies on canvas after I had left the tied-process sculpture behind,” he says. His first major work in returning to painting on ‘flat’ surfaces was a walk-in ‘bunker’ built of hundreds of stacked and bolted two by fours.

Today, his work focuses on huge abstract face images that fill the studio. “That’s where I think the faces came from … In going back to my original marks and re-examining those symbols and processes, these images started to emerge.” While Patrick says his work is a bold return to ‘conventional’ painting, he is comfortable with creating large-scale works and finding his own realm for self-expression.

“What I’m doing today is true to what I’ve been chasing after all my life,” says Patrick of his paintings. “We tend to think we have more control in life, but there are stages in an artist’s life – events that are so unpredictable – and there are moments of revelation when you know it’s very much connected to who you are. (edited for accuracy)

Artist Robert Patrick is one of five artists honored by the 2003-2004 McKnight Foundation who were selected to receive a New Work Fellowship for their work. Several of his mural-sized acrylic on panel paintings will be featured in a group exhibit of new work by established artists at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis through Aug. 15. For more information visit
August, 2004

Catalogue essay for the MCAD McKnight Exhibition, by Andrew Knighton

Robert Patrick

There is good reason that representational painting has concerned itself with the face more than any other subject. Simply put: the face is incomparably expressive, and in ways that no other subject is. A face is always singular; each one is unique, individual, and intimate. But the expression of a face only becomes meaningful because it is also general -- it is legible because it partakes of a shared vocabulary of body language that is decipherable by the other. Above all, perhaps, the expression of the face is fascinating because it can tell us things that the rest of the body, concealed in its drapery and repressed in its mechanics, is rarely allowed to say. In the involuntary glitches of a face -- a blush, a twitch, a wince -- we glimpse meanings that its wearer might rather prefer to shield from publicity. No matter how hard we may try to maintain the composure of the whole, we are time and again betrayed by the infinity of localized movements that subvert its unity.

Any image of a face captures a moment of this conflict between unity and autonomy, between restraint and freedom -- in this struggle, Robert Patrick's enormous paintings discover the secret of personality. His faces moreover neatly reflect the competing forces that are the motor of his method. In this series, just as in the drawings and sculptural works that preceded it, Patrick proceeds by establishing for himself a basic set of functional premises within which creative activity subsequently unfolds: size, materials, and theme are all determined at the outset. Within these unifying parameters, he then seeks the means of exploiting the maximum allowable freedom.

Patrick's approach is perhaps best exemplified by his explorations in tied process sculpture. These works, from the 1980s and 90s, distill the basic premises of painting into three stages: the building of an armature, the stretching of a surface, and the application of paint. While obeying these basic protocols, Patrick nevertheless pushed them to their fullest -- stretching, weaving, and manipulating the canvas into myriad configurations on the frame. The resulting objects, though definable as paintings according to the pre-established criteria, nevertheless parade their kinship with sculpture; the unique personalities of the objects emerge only through the creative agency invested in stretching the materials and the definitions alike.

In a similar fashion, Patrick's face series pursues the ways that one local element -- the simple black line that describes an eye, a nostril, a cheekbone -- can be manipulated, compressed, and extended into an organic whole. But the logical or intuitive possibilities implicit in the line must remain within carefully determined conditions established at the outset. The size and proportions of the image are dictated by the dimensions of the plywood on which it is created, and the theme is non-negotiable: the face. Within those parameters, the unpredictable course of the line and the modest application of secondary color generate the individualized identity of the whole.

Reducing the painting to this compositional duel between organic line and structural outline, Patrick allows each face to stand on its own terms. Due to the severity of the close-up, no apparent narrative intervenes to distract us with superfluous concerns of time and context. But when viewed as a part of a series, his faces attain a subtly dynamic rhythm; what initially appears as a mere thematic repetition slowly discloses the qualitative differences that make each one singular. This is why Patrick's work, and painting in general, keeps returning to the face: there, in the play of forces that makes each visage, we encounter a process of envisaging.

Andrew Knighton

July, 2004

The subject of my painting is that which is behind the real. What is reality? A thing is known because it is perceived but it is real because it is named. We name by attaching symbols to our perceptions in order to reassure each other that the conventions of our existence hold. Visual symbols, like texts, images and signs, allow us affirmation through familiar forms. Hallucinations are dreamlike encroachments on our conventional perceptions that evidence the unknowable source of all that we name and give voice to the forces of a void to which everything will succumb. My images derive from this dichotomy between symbol and hallucination.

Symbolic Hallucinism By Robert Patrick c. 1999

Twin Cities Reader

The Institute Hosts 900 Small Works--Art by the Foot, by Judy Arginteanu

At the entrance to "The Other Foot in the Door" show sits a box on a pillar. It measures one cubic foot and has a hand written label that reads "The Curator." Slapped onto the upper edge is a bow tie, the kind that might be worn by a fusty old professor who grades down for bad spelling.

Yet this "curator allowed nearly 900 entries into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. All they had to do was fit into the box....

..."The Other Foot in the Door" explodes the idea that democracy and quality in art are incompatible....

...Robert Patrick, who recently showed at Anderson & Anderson Gallery in downtown Minneapolis, had no qualms about the possibility that his work might be hung next to, say, a velvet Elvis. He characterizes the show as an "open dialogue," adding, "I think that's a viable reason to be in the show itself. For me, visual communication is what art's about. If the stuff's worth looking at, it should be able to hang anywhere at any time."...

...For Patrick, whose works are usually quite large, the show's scale limitations posed new challenges for him....

Judy Arginteanu

March 1990

Catalogue essay for "Vision and Three-Dimensional Representation"

May 1-26, 1989

Coffman Memorial Union Gallery, University of Miinnesota

The desire to translate existential tensions more directly when making a painting lead me to my Tied-Process. By investing in the stretching of the surface an equal partnership with painting in the creation of the image, I have separated "brush stroke" from paint. When tying, I concern myself with line and volume. While painting my surfaces, I rediscover them in color. This private language is a metaphor for flesh in motion; stress in the gut; that ache in the heart.

There are no accidents in Art. Power, fear, the sublime and the ridiculous; all are exposed in the act of painting. Artists spend entire lives building edifices of knowledge and experience from which to leap into the abyss of themselves. There are a thousand reasons why Art does not happen. There are no accidental artists.

Robert Patrick

May, 1989

ArtScape: Visual Art

Time Warps, by Jim Billings

2d on 3D, Minneapolis Institute of Art, December 23, 1988 - February 5 1989

Winding past the three-dimensional paintings adorned with feathers, stones, and bones in the Minneapolis Institute of Art's pre-Columbian gallery, one finds more recent painting-sculpture combos--playful, didactic--by twenty-nine artists in 2d on 3D, sponsored by the Minnesota Artists Exhibition program....

...In contrast, Robert Patrick's triptych Procrastes (1987) evokes a Western sense of martyrdom. In the central panel a cross is created by bound vinyl, poignant between the two wings figured with rope....

Jim Billings

February, 1989

The Alumni Show, At the Katherine Nash Gallery

Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota, October 14, 1988

...As might be expected of a show involving 98 artists of different ages and interests, The Alumni Show is diverse. In terms of quality, it may be TOO diverse.

From the abominable female mannequin monster chained to her gray canvas ("Fallen Angel" by D.B. McRaven, an art professor interested in the occult), to Marjorie Hennessy's superb, Gauguin-like gouache "The Four Horse-men," and on into putrid colors slathered into unlovable shapes in such paintings as ??? "Untitled"" to the vastly bright, fascinating vinyl twists and knots of Robert Patrick's "Aurora;" the good, the bad, and the bland inhabit the same close quarters....

Kim Klisch-Beaudoin

October, 1988

Nash Gallery ON the Mark

Minnesota Daily, October 24, 1986

3" Off the Wall (More or Less)/ at Katherine E. Nash Gallery...

...While similar in format from one piece to the next, Robert Patrick's work avoids redundancy; his concept is so original and incredibly beautiful that his constructions totally command the space where they are hung. The unique compression of his assemblage within the frame reminds one of excavations of ancient burial vaults--forms crushed on top of each other, delicious colors poking through the melee revealing secrets yet never giving away the whole piece. "The Heat," "Flagship," and "Talisman" could be called high-lights, but there is such consistent resplendence and density in the works that any single one stands as an excellent example of Patrick's exceptional taste, skill, and promise....

...Don't miss this opportunity to see why this region is fast becoming one of the nation's most carefully watched and promising artistic centers. This is work of national caliber; one would have to be an esthetic brick to miss it.

Jeffery Kastner

October, 1986

Artviews Fan

October 1986 Volume 3 #6

Constructions at Katherine Nash, by Fran Addington

I was intrigued by the title of the show: 3" Off the Wall (More or Less) at Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota's West Bank Campus, Willey Hall, where there always is innovative work on display. This work, some of it more off the wall than others, certainly lived up to that reputation....

...Robert Patrick's large, framed canvas and rope tied constructions took the brush stroke one step further into sculpture, echoing inner turmoil, the complex nature of today....

Fran Addington

October, 1986

Artviews Fan

November 1985 Volume 2 #10

Patrick's Equations, by Sharon Zweigbaum

I suppressed the urge to leap and shout on discovering Robert Patrick, an artist whose sculpted paintings are direct, exhilarating and good. Presently showing at St. Catherine's Catherine Murphy Galleries, the totally abstract works which consist of twisted, tied and pulled paint-ed fabric strips, arouse strong emotions. They illustrate how the world feels to Patrick: energetic, anxious or turbulent. The East gallery features mostly 3D, shaped pieces, and the West has large, more refined, wall hung works.

"Tomb," a 9' vertical construction, is made with uniformly sized, red-toned strips tightly composed within a flat black box. An ecclesiastical tone is set by the reds shadowed in gunmetal and blue as well as the mysterious openings between the complex tangles. A more visceral interpretation could be derived from the dark red, magenta and orange-tinted surface; perhaps it is an aerial view of mangled bodies. As grisly as this sounds, a consistent harmony exists in Patrick's overall pattern.

You can walk around "Harp," a four-sided assemblage of thickly woven ropes secured to the sides of the dark blue box frame by large screw eyes. A look through the rope strands reveals a star-shaped web on the interior, pulled into taut balance by arms connected to the inner sides of the box. The outside rope surfaces, firm as a chain link fence, are painted ivory, shadowed with blue and red underpaint. I especially liked the quality of the shadows cast on the floor by the webs.

My favorite piece in the show is "Eden Corner, " a 6' tall, standing work, frontally oriented. It appears opposite the entrance to the East gallery like a poised butterfly. It blazes with greens reminiscent of a garden arbor in midsummer. Patrick's tied strips become denser toward center, where they begin to bulge. At this point they become enmeshed with a snake-like form, made from green painted aluminum utility tubing, which winds in and out of the openings between strips. The fertility references are subtle yet clear. The edges of the work are painted darker than the rest, which lightens and brightens towards the pregnant middle, which heaves toward us.

Less innovative, but no less intriguing, is "Totem, " a standing piece about 4' high, which is wrapped with ice-blue ropes. It suggests a prehistoric monument, an icon or a trussed-up prisoner. A network of delicate threads meanders like cobwebs over it, adding a feeling that the surface has been affected by the patina of time.

The large wall paintings in the West Gallery have a degree of sameness due to consistent format and scale but the collections gains power when examined one by one. To me, these works connote various natural conditions: a dried corn-field, a night rainstorm, even the process of birth, as in the wrenching movements of "Genesis." This work shows more variety of surface treatment than the others in this room; the tied and twisted strips are pulled taut to provide a mesh from which bulging knots of fabric protrude. His imaginative materials, canvas and vinyl strips, are painted red-orange, pinks and ivory, hinting at bone and flesh. While this work could be interpreted as gory, Patrick's sturdy frame, a controlling element, tempers this connotation.

"Grey Diablo," in frosty blue and rust red, is composed by weaving large strips together with very little knotting. As a pale blue glints from the high parts of the relief, reds glow from beneath. Patrick's multi-layered approach lends visual interest to all his pieces, and allows them to be different from one another. The mauve, pink and peach strips in "Zorba" reminded me of the delicate order in Cretan frescoes.

Patrick's work speaks of both the regularity of natural order and the wrenching realities of contemporary life. Patrick's work is also about process; his impeccable workmanship includes building a stretcher for each piece, which he has described as the "bone" to which "flesh" is added. Within the logical framework, the knotted plane is a web of non-logical actions. The application of paint binds stretcher to canvas and provides artistic cohesion.

It's been a long while since abstract work has moved me to such stirrings of the imagination. Patrick triggers this by magically transforming mundane materials such as torn fabric, ropes and aluminum tubing between the limits of a stretcher. This is one show I will visit again for it achieves, as Patrick wishes, "a view of the places where dreams live and the senses merge."

Sharon Zweigbaum

November, 1985

White Bear Press 

Arts/entertainment   October 9, 1985 

Robert Patrick’s works featured

Kate’s gallery shows artistic ‘Equations’ 

Catherine G. Murphy Galleries at the college of St. Catherine, St. Paul, will present works by White Bear Lake artist Robert Patrick through Oct. 25.

Patrick, 35, was born in Duluth and holds his MFA in painting from the University of Minnesota. He has exhibited in Minnesota, Indiana and Virginia.

Of “Equations,” which he titled the October exhibit, he says, “I paint how the world feels: energetic, anxious, turbulent. My paintings are an equation for action and perception, a picture of subconsciousness, a view of the places where dreams live and the senses merge.”

Gallery patrons will be intrigued by Patrick’s processes. He rips, ties, pulls and knots the canvas between its stretcher bars, then applies a “skin” of paint. The works merge sculpture and painting, giving them meaning which neither medium could render on its own.

St. Paul Dispatch 

EXTRA/style   July 13, 1982 

Baymillers: Refusing to Specialize, by M. Peacock 

…Our Client’s tend to have a great sense of humor, daring and imagination. They’ll take risks. They trust us.

            “And they’re willing to be part of the creative process,” John says. “First Bank’s dining room was an ideal project for us. The trust was enormous.”

            That project has an intriguing mix of a traditional style, with rich woods, custom carpeting, and burgundy fabrics, juxtaposed with contemporary elements, such as Bob Patrick’s “Greeting Committee,” three life-size wood sculpture pieces, wrapped and tied with dyed canvas…