Ebony G. Patterson's expansive practice addresses visibility and invisibility, through explorations of class, race, gender, youth culture, pageantry and acts of violence in the context of "postcolonial" spaces. With the strong sensibility of a painter, Patterson works across multiple media - including tapestry, photography, video, sculpture, drawing and installation - united by her consistent visual language and intention. Each work is intricately embellished and densely layered, in order to draw the viewer closer and to question how we engage in the act of looking. Patterson states: "I aim to elevate those who have been deemed invisible/un-visible as a result of inherited colonial social structures, by incorporating their words, thoughts, dress, and pageantry as a tactic to memorialize them. It is a way to say: I am here, and you cannot deny me." Entrancing and colorful, Patterson's works command the viewer to look beyond their rich formal characteristics and to acknowledge the realities of social injustice. Using the paradoxical to convey important messages, she draws on far reaching vernaculars of art history, religious imagery and popular culture. Patterson explains that she uses beauty to trap the viewer 'physically, psychologically and emotionally' in intricate and seducing compositions. Shrouding figures almost completely, the artist creates a presence of bodies no longer there, which raises pertinent questions about those who are not visible.  


Since 2013, the idea of the garden, both real and imagined, has formed an essential arc of Patterson's practice. Framing the garden as an active site of power, Patterson explores it as a metaphor for "postcolonial" space and an extension of the body. "I am interested in how gardens - natural but cultivated settings - operate with social demarcations. I investigate their relationship to beauty, dress, class, race, the body, land and death." (Patterson, 2018). In new works, Patterson continues to deftly combine splendor with danger. Juxtaposing visibility and invisibility; death and survival, Patterson's works remain filled with an overwhelming sense of hope. People become memorialized in Patterson's gardens - each piece is a marker for bodies overlooked. Life fervently continues, and those who live in the garden persist in finding ways to survive. 


Patterson (b.1981, Kingston, Jamaica) received an MFA degree in Printmaking and Drawing from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University St. Louis (2006) and a BFA in painting from Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica (2004). Patterson has taught at the University of Virginia; Edna Manley College School of Visual and Performing Arts; the University of Kentucky and was the Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her major survey exhibition ...while the dew is still on the roses... opened at Pérez Art Museum Miami in 2018; then toured to Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY (2019); and the Nasher Museum at Duke University, NC (2020). Other notable solo exhibitions include …things come to thrive…in the shedding…in the molting…, New York Botanical Garden, NY (2023); Hales Gallery, New York, NY (2022); moniquemeloche, Chicago, IL (2021); Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark (2020); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2020); Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2018); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2016); The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY (2016); Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, GA (2016); Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (2014); Bermuda National Gallery (2012); among others. Select group exhibitions include Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage which originated at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN (2023) and traveled to MFA Houston, TX (2024) and the Phillips Collection, DC (2024, forthcoming); Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990-Today, which originated at the MCA Chicago, IL (2023) and traveled to ICA Boston, MA (2023) and MCA San Diego, CA (2024, forthcoming); Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, Brooklyn Museum, NY (2024) and travels to High Museum, Atlanta, GA (2024, forthcoming); The Current, Stowe, VT (2024); Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, UK (2024); Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskills, NY (2023-24) and New Britian Museum of American Art, CT (2024); Tacoma Museum of Glass, WA (2023); The Speed Museum, Louisville, KY (2023); CARA, New York, NY (2023); ICA San Francisco, CA (2023); Watershed at ICA Boston, MA (2022); Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, MI (2022); High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (2022); Liverpool Biennial (2021); Brooklyn Museum, NY (2021); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2021); Art Gallery of Ontario, CA (2021); Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA (2019); HetHEM Museum, Amsterdam, NE (2019), McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX (2018); Birmingham Museum of Art, AL (2017); 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, BR (2016), among others. In 2022, Patterson was appointed as the first Susan Brennan Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.6, which will take place in Fall 2024. Patterson will present a solo exhibition at moniquemeloche, Chicago, IL (2025). 


Her work is in the public collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; SFMOMA, San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Indianapolis, IN; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; 21c Museum and Foundation, Louisville, KY; among others. She has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships including the David C. Driskell Prize (2023); Tiffany Foundation Grant (2017), the United States Artist Award, Painter and Mixed Media Artist (2018) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Art Grant (2015). Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica and Chicago, IL.