Photo: Patricia Thornton, detail of Lost Trail, mixed media collage, n.d., courtesy of the artist, copyright the artist.

Patricia Thornton: Misfits, Monsters, And Pretty Things

February 18 2014 - June 14 2014

Patricia Thornton: Misfits, Monsters, and Pretty Things (Daydreams and Dalliances)

Misfits, monsters, and pretty things have been the muses of Patricia Thornton’s artistic exploration for the past ten years. The Missoula artist has been consistently working on this series over many years and has made recent strides developing and refining her approach. Thornton’s first museum exhibition, hosted in the Shott Gallery, features her most recent works of the series, a chapter titled Daydreams and Dalliances. Central to her art-making process is inquisitive experimentation, intuition, and a healthy mix of playfulness. The results are a quirky collection of images, patterns, symbols, and colors carefully juxtaposed to create a kind of narrative that at once feels like a rambling stream of consciousness and a beautifully crafted work of prose. In this way, Thornton’s visual language is poetry.

Thornton approaches image-making without parameters, self-imposed or imposed by the external strictures of convention. She uses any medium or method at her disposal—photography, painting, drawing, printmaking, or three-dimensional installation—to resolve any given problem. Thornton often combines a variety of media and processes to create her bounding collages. Thornton has freed herself from the two-dimensional restraints of frames and boundaries. At times the imagery falls off the edge of the paper and continues onto the wall’s surface as the narrative proceeds.

The repetition of certain images, her quirky anthropomorphic characters, or boldly-cut paper forms, appear and move throughout her installation. Pattern and design hold sway with Thornton’s aesthetic. Her palette is refined and sparse, dominated by pink and blue with ample white space. The resulting imagery is an airy, light welcome with a playful, young-at-heart feeling. But Thornton is far from immature; viewers will quickly realize the refined lines and formal resolution that are the results of a disciplined artist at full stride.

MAM is delighted to work with Thornton to host this exhibition. Thornton has been an active and dedicated member of Missoula’s art community for many years. She curated art exhibitions at The Catalyst and the Ceretana Studios and has taught art for Flagship and MAM.