Q&A with Patrick M Webb

"My work since 1990 has explored the experiences of a contemporary version of the Italian clown Punchinello."

Tinker Tailor : Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, Cowboy, Policeman, Jailer, Engine Driver, Pirate Chief, - Oil on linen, 60 x 220 in.
Born in: United States
Lives in: NYC
Education: Master of Fine Arts Yale University; Bachelor of Fine Arts Maryland Institute College of Art
Media: Painting
Describe your work in 3 words: Queer Punchinello Narratives
See More Work: http://patrick-webb.com | https://www.gf.org/fellows/all-fellows/patrick-webb | https://www.visualaids.org/artists/detail/patrick-webb | http://ricepolakgallery.com/artist/patrick-webb
Tinker Tailor: Burglar, Boxer, Baker, Preacher, Writer, Politician, Crook, - Oil on linen 60 x 180 in.
CFA: What themes does your work deal with? 
P.M.W.:  Identity, pictorial dynamics, narrative, queerness
CFA: Describe your creative process.
P.M.W.: I work in series. Sometimes as a continuous narrative, sometimes as a theme, I work in various sizes and mostly with oil paint on oil primed linen either stretched or mounted on board. I sometimes work from observation in preparation and sometimes for the finished painting. I draw a lot before and during the process of making a painting. Larger work requires more work ahead of time including underpainting and color studies.
CFA: What influences your art? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
P.M.W.:  I make art because I cannot help it. The poet Stanley Kunitz used to say that being a poet was an affliction. I think so with painting but would add it is a divine way to spend one's life. I am inspired by the long history of painting, music, poetry, and writing.
CFA: What is art? What makes a piece of art great?
P.M.W.: Gadamer said it better than I: The encounter with art belongs within the process of integration given to human life which stands within traditions. Indeed, it is even a question whether the special contemporaneity of the work of art does not consist precisely of this: that it stands open to limitless way to ever new integrations. The creator of the work may intend a particular public of his time, but the real being (my emphasis) of a work is what it.
CFA: What is the role of the artist today? 
P.M.W.: Art shows us who we are.

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This interview was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist