Gerald Peters Contemporary is pleased to announce its participation in Expo Chicago 2023 with a solo presentation of paintings by artist Patrick Dean Hubbell.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, the presentation will expand on a series Hubbell began while pursuing his MFA in 2021. Now known as his Tack Room series, the associated paintings and drawings are a montage of visual influences, spanning the genre of American West history painting with particular focus on Native American portraiture.
In the series, the artist interrogates biases about Native peoples and histories of the American West, puncturing romanticizing imagery by deconstructing it. Tack Room centers around Hubbell’s blind contour paintings, an extensive series the artist produces by consulting a well-known work of art depicting figures of the American West and then blindly outlining a rough copy of the scene on the canvas.
The resulting works reveal the clichéd cowboy hats and warbonnets of nineteenth-century paintings produced by the likes of George Catlin, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell, albeit reduced to faint yet eminently recognizable core imagery that indicates just how deeply such stereotypes have been internalized by Native and non-Native audiences alike.
The newest works of the series, produced specifically for Expo Chicago, are scaled to 5- and 7-foot-tall canvases. The dimensions recall the works of prominent Native artists like Fritz Scholder and T.C. Canon who similarly drew from clichéd source material in the production of paintings aimed at de-mythologizing portrayals of the American West and the region’s modern Indigenous inhabitants.
Accompanying the Tack Room portraits will be a selection of Hubbell’s well-known gestural abstractions. These early canvases combine gathered natural earth pigments from the Navajo Nation with synthetic oil and acrylic paint. The color intensity produced by this combination of materials supports references to the Southwestern landscape, its unique vegetation, and floral color entities.
Together, the two series reflect a synthesis of Hubbell’s experience growing up on his family’s Navajo Nation farmland, deep connections to his Diné heritage, and the struggles he has faced as a Native artist in the contemporary art world.