In Color We Trust: Patrick Alston

10 September - 30 October 2022
Humans have historically used color as a symbolic approach toward setting meanings, boundaries, and structure to our social composition. It has molded our perception of nature, music, concepts, architecture, geography, and of course, ourselves. By doing so, the result is a categorization and division of people, setting ourselves up to indiscriminately assume what and who we think we are according to how much light falls upon a surface. We use colors to represent our diverse ideologies; dividing ourselves into collectives of whom we consider to be like-minded individuals. But what would happen if we were to take our preconceived historical notions and our socialized internal responses to color and allow ourselves to see it in its purest form?

In Color We Trust, Patrick Alston asks: Does color hold the possibility of true freedom in its depths? Can we challenge our perception of color and our impulse to set certain values to specific tones? He questions the relationship colors have to each other and us. The way we set emotional, ideological, and historical significance to colors as a way of making judgments and navigating our social life. Alston challenges us to attempt to understand that colors, in their purest form, can be free from any preconceived notions society has placed on them. That we set the stage to trust that color is enough of a subject matter to stand on its own, unboxed and untethered to our need to impose our individual and collective judgments on an element of life that in fact has no boundaries.

Patrick Alston presents In Color We Trust with carefully constructed pieces wherein each work may be a world to itself. With his application of mixed materials and the careful construction of each work, we may experience the act of looking at color in a way that can possibly free us from ourselves. Using acrylic, oil, enamel, pumice, texture spray, and spray paint, among other materials, and his sharp focus on hue and tone, he asks us not just to observe his work but listen to it, allowing color to have its due voice and speak for itself. Maybe then, the walls and divides we have built may crumble and our lenses shatter. 

Patrick Alston (b. in 1991 in New York, NY, US) is a contemporary artist who focuses on gesture and materiality. Through abstraction, Patrick Alston‘s work forms a reflection on socio-politics, identity, language, and the psychology of color. His re-contextualized subjects and rich and complex compositions are expressed through gestural mark-making and the combination of various materials. In his work, the artist draws on the relation between image and language. The selection of his titles plays a crucial role within the artist’s process. Comparing the abstraction of painting to Black English Vernacular as a form of language abstraction, Patrick Alston investigates different forms of language, understanding, and perception. Alston’s visual language relates to painting and traditional New York graffiti culture with interwoven materials and fabrics which generates a medium to project the unwritten aesthetic of the deconstructed landscape. Alston attended Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN, US, studying Art and Psychology. Patrick Alston has had various solo and group exhibitions throughout the US, and debuted with Bode Projects in various shows in Berlin, DE. Patrick Alston lives and works in New York, NY, US.