PJ Paterson's varied practices switches from photography to paintings and addresses diverse subject matter. In his new series, he returns to painting, exploring iconic figures who have shaped his identity and influenced his cultural landscape. Depicting such cult figures as Cher, Muhammad Ali and Thom Yorke, Paterson’s new paintings employ a similar pointillist technique used in his earlier Twiggy series, which involves the painstaking recreation of images using tiny painted dots to Perspex.
This analogue method of image sampling is highly time-consuming and results in the addition of small random changes, brought about by the artist’s hand. Thus Paterson adds his own data to these images, commenting on the value of digitalised processes and calling into question the notion of image ownership. Paterson takes the new series further, by superimposing his painted icons over his own digital photography, creating beautiful and unexpected juxtapositions such as Debbie Harry saluting before a Las Vegas-style ruin.
Throughout his practice, Paterson’s works are united by an effort to expose holes in the narratives of progress that define contemporary society. While Paterson’s highly-processed, ‘shiny-shiny’ aesthetic references Pop art and contemporary culture, his frequent changes in subject and style suggest an artist with a deep sense of social responsibility. His willingness to confront issues so directly allows his art to become a means of radical social and political expression, a vehicle for change.
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