Artist Ebony G. Patterson’s Lush and Provocative Garden Installation in North Carolina Is a Delight for the Eyes—See It Here

While museums are closed to the public, we are spotlighting an inspiring exhibition somewhere around the globe each day.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.
Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

While museums around the globe are closed to the public, we are spotlighting each day an inspiring exhibition that was previously on view. Even if you can’t see it in person, allow us to give you a virtual look. 

Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… 
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina

What the museum saysJamaican-born artist Ebony G. Patterson’s “neo-baroque” works “address violence, masculinity, ‘bling,’ visibility, and invisibility within the post-colonial context of her native Kingston and within black youth culture globally. This exhibition focuses on the role that gardens have played in her practice, referenced as spaces of both beauty and burial, environments filled with fleeting aesthetics and mourning.”

Still from Ebony G. Patterson, …three kings weep... (2018). © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Still from Ebony G. Patterson’s … three kings weep… (2018). © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Why it’s worth a look: A lush floral landscape takes over the galleries, with tendrils and vines, papered over in deep purple wallpaper, snaking across the walls. In the center of the gallery, huge red and orange blossoms hold court, surrounded by Patterson’s textile and mixed-media assemblages.

Patterson doesn’t skimp on glitz and sparkles, which are used to transcend gender boundaries. A pair of heels with intricately carved wooden platforms lay on a bed of colorfully beaded petals. And nearby, a pair of metallic blue lace-up combat boots are festooned with epaulette tassels.

The artist has spoken about using color and pattern as a way to assert dignity—especially through dress and in performance. In a video titled … three kings weep… , three black men sit ramrod straight against a Fragonard-esque backdrop of butterflies and climbing roses. The men are clad in mixed patterns of African wax prints and other vibrant textures. In the video, they slowly undress themselves, peeling off layers as tears stream down their faces.

What it looks like: 

Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson ". . . while the dew is still on the roses . . .". © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . . , Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, February – July 2020. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson . . . while the dew is still on the roses . . . , Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, February – July 2020. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Ebony G. Patterson, Dead Tree in a Forest… (2013). © Ebony G. Patterson. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Oriol Tarridas.

Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson ". . . while the dew is still on the roses . . .". © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of "Ebony G. Patterson: ... while the dew is still on the roses... ". © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of Ebony G. Patterson ". . . while the dew is still on the roses . . .". © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “.  © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Sarah Lyon.

Installation view of “Ebony G. Patterson: … while the dew is still on the roses… “. © Ebony G. Patterson. All work courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.


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