Ebony G. Patterson’s paper garden of delights and traumas comes to ICA San Jose

Tony Bravo, San Fransisco Chronicle , April 2, 2021

For the past decade, Ebony G. Patterson has thematically toiled in the garden. It’s a motif that can remind viewers of nature’s serenity, but also its unforgiving excess and brutality.

Upon entering the artist’s new exhibition at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, the viewer is immersed in an installation of all those multitudes. The purple walls and wallpaper transport you to a paper Eden of crafted flowers and leaves, where manifestations of destruction lurk under every blossom. The exhibition, titled “…when the cuts erupt…the garden rings…and the warning is a wailing…”, runs through Sept. 5.


The opening pentaptych (five-panel) work is a dramatic initiation to the show. Although the five sections of the wall that hold the sculptural, collaged flowers and vines are framed in white boxes, some of the materials (including craft store butterflies) escape the borders. It’s a beautiful, multidimensional work that can feel delightful and abundant.