'Pierced By Dogma' | An Artist's Perspective

May 24, 2017

"Pierced By Dogma" is the name of painter Patrick Duegaw's exhibition currently on view at the Ulrich. Upon entering the show of Duegaw self-portraits, I found what is, essentially, the artist stripped bare.

In this exhibition Duegaw confronts his anxieties about the stringent rules of Christianity and the sometimes insane rules of society and life itself. The huge paintings are rendered on surfaces in the shape of skewed crosses. We find Duegaw as a downcast figure, naked and plump, with a clown's hat and stigmata-- the dark piece made especially haunting in that it features carrying handles from a casket on its black lacquered frame. Duegaw as circus ringmaster, consuming his own left leg. And Duegaw as a fortune teller, castingĀ himself as both recipient and perpetrator of violence--explaining in a statement that he means to convey the ways in which any form of abuse that is visited upon the body, self-inflicted or otherwise, can adversely affect the mind and spirit.

Duegaw is a master draftsman. His human figure is rotund, raw, and achingly honest. Sketch lines, ghost-like, peer through the paint at times. The color palate is searing and insanely rich--as if he paints with scorched earth and liquid candy. The final finishes on each piece are nothing short of gorgeous. And perhaps most importantly, the messages are gut wrenching.

What a shame it would be if this show doesn't travel to other museums across the country, where others can drink it--as I have. This juice, no matter how sour or raw, should be consumed by the masses... 'tis good for the soul.

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