Patricia A. Griffin
Patricia A. Griffin’s vibrant, complex compositions explore the flesh, fur and nature of the animals who share our planet. The rich materialism of her creations makes a curious connection with the intangible qualities of each beast’s soul. Structural density and painterly poise also mark many of her landscapes that reflect the arboreal delights of each season. From the moody to the majestic, the cozy to the ominous, these pieces burn slowly as they stir the mind into daydreams of travel and fresh encounters with exotic and indigenous creatures. It is not surprising to discover that close encounters with animals in the grassy hills of South Dakota deeply inspired her to paint these intimate portraits. She is not an artist who searches the Internet for virtual encounters and images. She says, “In 2008, a herd of pronghorn antelope came within ten feet of my easel. They were grazing around me as I painted. I was so moved by the closeness and acceptance, and their regard for me as an insignificant part of the environment, I started painting animals as soon as I got back to the studio—bison, deer, sheep and donkeys. The size of the canvas went from ten inches to six feet in a matter of weeks. The more I painted, the more I pushed the color.” Griffin goes to great lengths to study, photograph and sketch her kinetic subjects. Whatever the cost, the rewards are refreshingly unpredictable and satisfying. She says, “In [the] fall of 2015, I traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, to study the polar bear. It was intense: five cars, two planes, cancelled flights, pounds of equipment, layers of clothing, up before dawn, equipment failure (due to subzero temps), but I witnessed snowy owls, foxes, ptarmigan, raven, hawk. I saw polar bear: old, young, mothers with cubs, boar (male) eating a carcass, [a] boar chasing [a] cub to eat it and the mother successfully thwarting off the boar, and the Northern Lights.” Inexplicably, her non-naturalistic use of color reveals poignant and endearing facets of each creature. These works are portals into poetic and psychological content—within the reach of language and analysis, yet drifting into wordless fantasy. Griffin’s art beckons the utopian hope that the entire animal kingdom will one day thrive in an atmosphere of abundant peace.