By Glenda Rice Collins (Updated May 17, 2016)
Recent Works exhibition continues through May 22 at the AHHA gallery in Tulsa
TULSA, Okla., USA — Mrs. Lennox & The Gift of Falling Snow, Patrick (P.S.) Gordon’s current celebratory exhibition at Living Arts of Tulsa, continuing through April 28, brings a unique collection of Gordon paintings, never shown publicly before, out of darkness into the light, from New York to the heartland, documenting the renowned artist’s experience with the AIDS epidemic. His contrasted Recent Works exhibition continues through May 22 at AHHA.
Gordon, a Claremore, Oklahoma native, is the recipient of the inaugural Living Legend Artist Award presented by Living Arts of Tulsa. His diverse works reside in distinguished private, corporate and museum collections throughout the United States, and his print editions have been enthusiastically popular with collectors internationally.
After living, working, and celebrating success in New York for nearly a decade, Gordon recently returned to his home state, where he maintains a private studio in his 21st Street Maple Ridge residence in Tulsa, now showing his work “by appointment only” in addition to ongoing gallery exhibitions.
Art Themes Address Re-Enchantment with Life
As author and former monk Thomas Moore writes in his book, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life, “Psychology generally tries to give us relief from the emotions stirred up by an archetypal seizure, whereas the arts intensify the emotions, while giving …sharp definition that comes from increased imagination…The arts show us our souls, and therefore they are often deeply moving or sometimes profoundly disturbing…the arts sharpen the emotion and intensify the crisis of meaning.”
Painted during some of Gordon’s darkest days of introspection, his currently exhibited paintings were, according to the renowned artist, “painted in darkness, at night.” During a recent Creative Cocktail Hour event at Living Arts, Gordon spoke openly about his fears and concerns after being diagnosed with HIV some 14 years ago, a time period which, for him, represents the loss of many to AIDS.
While about half of Gordon’s current exhibition, Mrs. Lennox… includes superbly executed, large-scale paintings of decked out “drag queens,” …The Gift of Falling Snow displays very personal snow scenes: E.K.B.G., a painting of his lovely daughter, Emily, at age 22; his young granddaughter in Ava, Seated in a large-scale photo print; and Archangel which represents his own doctor in New York.
Gordon’s advanced techniques with watercolor, oil, and photographic creativity bring highly elevated skills to sensitive subject matter and portraiture.
Among the elaborately detailed drag queen painting’s details, he points out symbolic “birds that mate for life” and birds studied after death, during a recent gallery event. Of his large scale portrait of a subject in a gold ball gown, The Dressmaker, Gordon opines “It most captures the sense of painting that is John Singer Sargent-like.”
Falling Snow & The Gift
As in weather updates which might forecast “20% chance of snow,” Gordon pondered his own 20% chance of being diagnosed with AIDS, or survival, during this dark period.
“It changed my life,” he says now. “I’m not the same person…maybe better. . .The snow represents AIDS. The gift is staying in the present…the mind is a scary place to go…Stay right here.”
Though just a few of the exhibition paintings are for sale, with price tags ranging from $12,000 to $50,000, Gordon says, “I tried for 20 years to get these paintings shown in New York. I’m not getting rid of any of these. I don’t keep very much, but (most of) these are mine…these will go right back into the basement. Doing a show is more difficult than you think.”
Nonetheless, his Guns and Roses, (Portrait of Governor Mary Fallin), was one of the first to sell.
“The world is a better place (now) than it was 20 years ago (regarding treatment of those with HIV and AIDS-related issues). ..not perfect, but better…Tulsa treats me like I’m the best thing since sliced bread. I never had a better show.”
Recently featured at a Brady Arts District First Friday Arts Crawl presentation this month, and at the recent cocktail hour event, both at Living Arts of Tulsa, Gordon says, “I spend 10-12 hours a day alone, painting. I like being isolated. I started painting seriously when I was 12. My Dad gave me… business sense.”
Gordon’s grandmother was a florist, and his mother, an artist. It follows that his exquisitely detailed paintings commemorating such events as the Tulsa Mayfest, Tulsa Ballet 40th Anniversary, and Tulsa Centennial, feature his own distinctive floral arrangements of diverse blooms in various vases.
Gordon’s most recent, floral feature painting, Winter Whites, is currently on view at the downtown Tulsa AHHA, Hardesty Arts Center gallery as part of his Recent Works exhibition.
Three P.S. Gordon originals can be viewed within the Tulsa Performing Arts Center permanent collection: Dante’s Table, a 40 x 60- inch still life in pink and green featuring “wild parrot tulips;” A River Runs Through It, Too, honoring the Tulsa Centennial; and a portrait of prominent Tulsa arts patron, the late Katie Westby, Gordon’s gift to the City of Tulsa.
For additional details about Living Arts of Tulsa, and the AHHA Hardesty Arts Center exhibits and upcoming events, please visit the living arts.org and ahhatulsa.org websites, respectively.
Up Next: Dallas
Having consistently exhibited his works in New York galleries, and beyond, since his first one man show in 1974 at age 20, Gordon next mounts an upcoming September exhibition for the Craighead Green Gallery in Dallas, Texas.
Banner photo courtesy of Living Arts of Tulsa:
Patrick (P.S.) Gordon leads a tour of his works at Living Arts of Tulsa during a recent third Thursday Creative Cocktail Hour event. Mrs. Lennox & The Gift of Falling Snow continues through April 28.
#####(c)Glenda Rice Collins.com Updated 5-17-16 All rights reserved.