Ebony G. Patterson's multilayered practice in painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video uses beauty as a tool to address global social and political injustices. Her immersive gardens grow out of a complex entanglement of race, gender, class, and violence. Patterson seduces the viewer into acknowledging a darker truth lurking ominously beneath the surface. Upon closer inspection, the figures in these embellished paper works are disembodied, un-whole. While the bright, effusive visual cues on the surface of her work suggest vivifying celebration, these signifiers point to the opposite. Their ghostly forms hover amidst a tangle of flora and fauna, plants which themselves might harbor a secret poison. Patterson’s gardens are never far from notions of violence, of memorial, of blood and tears.
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 and group exhibitions include Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskills, NY; CARA, New York, NY; ICA San Francisco, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Watershed at ICA, Boston, MA; ICA San Jose, CA; and the 2021 editions of the Liverpool and Athens Biennials. Patterson will present a major site-specific exhibition of sculptural and horticultural installations at the New York Botanical Gardens opening Spring 2023 titled …things come to thrive…in the shedding…in the molding…. In fall of 2023 Patterson’s work will be included in A Two Way Mirror: Double Consciousness in Contemporary Glass by Black Artists, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA. In 2022, Patterson was appointed as the first Susan Brennan Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.6, which will take place in Fall 2024.
Her work is in the public collections of The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, IN; the High Museum, GA; SFMOMA, CA; 21c Museum and Foundation, Louisville, KY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; 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.