patrick schmidt studio
Color, shape, and pattern define cultural awareness. For example, “red, white, and blue” may have either positive or negative connotations depending on one’s country of origin. Similarly, in yogic theory, the human body has energy sources known as chakras -- each corresponding to a color. Pattern, too, has associations. Each Scottish clan has distinct patterns and color combinations for its kilts depending on setting and season. Nevertheless, digital manipulations of color, shape, and pattern can disrupt these paradigms.

Information moves at a faster pace today than at any other time in recorded history. With so much data at our fingertips, we click what we want to encounter and delete what we want to avoid. In this way, we compose ourselves through what we selectively see, hear, engage, etc. It follows, then, that our identities develop out of an exaggerated conceit in which everything happens (and is restricted from happening) at once. In some ways, we lose our authentic selves in the process of constructing and believing our own mythologies. From this assessment emerges a new threat that asks, “Are we better off with the tools of technology?” Theoretically, technology could create one universal identity; it is the key to connecting (or dividing) us all.

By using pattern as a metaphor, my work explores identity in the digital age. Initially, I appropriate image patterns from a variety of sources then reduce them via technology to a simple line drawing. Next, I overlay several images in order to disrupt their individual patterns and suggest one all-embracing design. Starting with ancient and contemporary archetypes (patterns) in much of this work, I later juxtapose digitized shapes from contemporary patterns to reveal a not-yet-familiar world. As a painter, I value the primacy of color in my work. Because pigment suggests an inner energy, enhances ties to identity, and strengthens cultural bonds, I manipulate the combined effect of line, color, and shape into a cultural mythology in which everything happens at once.