Born in 1963 in Beverly, Massachusetts, Patricia Cronin was educated in several art schools, including Brooklyn College of The City University of New York for her M.F.A and Rhode Island College for her B.F.A. From solo exhibitions in various countries (including The Lab Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy), to publications such as The Zenobia Scandal: A Meditation on Male Jealousy (2013), her work is internationally renowned and is becoming increasingly popular. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts (Deutsche Bank Fellow) Artist Fellowship in 2007, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Rome Prize in Visual Art between 2006-2007.
Patricia Cronin works with oil paint, sculpture, and watercolor to address contemporary social and political issues. Her themes include feminism, the human body, homosexuality, class, and sex. One of her more famous pieces is the “Shrine For Girls.” This piece has been exhibited in three countries: in 2017 at The Lab Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, in 2016 at The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, NY, and in 2015 at the Chiesa di San Gallo, in Venice, Italy.
The most striking thing about this piece here is the contrast between the sober and discreet colors of the Romanesque church of San Gallo in Venice against the cluster of colors in the heap of clothes ingeniously laid on the altar to form a triangle, a symbol of the Holy Trinity, with its top slightly angled towards the direction of the Holy Spirit. Cronin collected clothes from young women around the world to create this piece. It is in fact, she explains, a relic of the young women, victims of domestic violence and abuse, a “commemoration of their spirits”.
Above is a collection of her oil paintings and watercolors, in an exhibition titled “Dante: The Way of the Flesh”. Here, the artist attempted to continue in the spirit of Dante Alighieri’s work in her own way. The colors once again were chosen ingeniously: since it is a rendering of Hell, she has chosen a set of warm colors, namely red and orange, an allusion to the fire of hell, paired with cold colors, recalling corpses, like cool blue and purple. It is also a reminder of how men all share the same humanity and the imminence of death, inevitable for humankind.
In the first two images, what seems to be represented is a progression of the man who realizes that he is in Hell. In the first picture, a man, curled up on himself, crying, vulnerable, and possibly losing all hope of seeing the light of day. To the left of it, a man who seems completely dead: lean, white with blue and purple spots. The body is positioned upside down and falls toward the bottom of Hell. The position may allude to Dante himself (in the Divine Comedy), who was sort of a mime of Christ as he descended into the depths of the Underworld before ascending to Paradise. In addition, the way he falls and looks more or less serene seems to refer to the “Falling Man” of 9/11, touching on contemporary issues.
This same man appears to be represented in the two following images, from different angles. Finally, the last painting, the triptych, seems to represent a dead man lost in the darkness . This man also seems to be committing cannibalism due to lack of food in Hell, and all he seems to find is a skull.
To here more about her experience and her and her art, come join Patricia Cronin tonight, April 11 at 6pm at Villa La Pietra.