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Patrick Palmer
"My Imaginary Mentor:
Alexej Jawlensky"

September 5 - November 3, 2020

East Gallery

Opening Reception

Saturday, September 5, 2020
6pm to 9pm
"My Imaginary Mentor: Alexej Jawlensky", 2020, Mixed media on stretched canvas, 6' x 5'

Artist Statement:

Growing up in Pasadena, California gave me artistic opportunities that might not have occurred elsewhere. As a nine-year old, I was given the choice to receive oil painting lessons in a carport on picnic tables or become a Boy Scout. As a fifteen-year old, I was driven 40 miles each Saturday (for 2 years) to learn how to draw the figure at the Otis Art Institute.

In 1953, the then Pasadena Art Museum was bequeathed with the largest collection of art from the Blue Four Artists that existed outside of Germany. These four German based artists, Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, and Feininger were all key figures of the very important German Expressionist movement in the first half of the 20th Century.  The unlikely influence of this major collection on a Southern Californian teenager was huge. My family were not museum goers.  My only museum visits were to the Pasadena Art Museum.  Seeing a vast array of German Expressionist art had a great impact on my early understanding of art. I remember being fascinated by the art of these four Germans, in particular by Alexej Jawlensky. There was an entire wall of Jawlensky’s paintings of women’s heads that were seemingly similar, but wildly different. Typical expressionistic heads that were filling the canvasses, painted with primarily skin tones of reds and oranges.  They had wild patterned hair that was often in shades of green.

It was the first time I realized that portraits didn't require photographic likenesses. Jawlensky’s portraits used wild non-local colors, overwhelmingly crowded compositions, patterns, and fat juicy brushstrokes to express emotion. His influence has never left me. He became my guide and my imaginary mentor.

I think a good mentor is one who encourages the individuality of those he or she is mentoring, not one who creates a club of little mini-me’s. Alexej Jawlensky’s paintings influenced me in a way that even today, fills me with gratitude.

In the series for this exhibition entitled "Judith," I used the image of a woman as my common denominator. Rather than use a single specific woman, I used a variety of women to show a variety of emotions and expressions. I didn’t want my Judith’s to be viewed as portraits of an individual, but as a variety of types of women with a spectrum of feelings.


2020, Mixed media and watercolor on paper, 12" x 9"


View all of the works in the exhibition, read Patrick's artist statement, and read the gallery director's statement about his work.


Click on the image below to page through the catalog:

Patrick Palmer “My Imaginary Mentor: Alexej Jawlensky” Catalog


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