Graeme Patterson

Graeme Patterson, born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1980, is a multi-media visual artist who works in sculpture, installation, robotics, video and stop-motion animation.  His engaging multi-media project, Woodrow, is based on the nearly abandoned town of the same name, located two hours south of Regina, Saskatchewan.   Three generations of Graeme Patterson’s family worked on the family farm outside of Woodrow and Patterson chose to return to Woodrow a few years ago.  Instead of farming, Patterson worked in his studio while also exploring the history and everyday life of residents of Woodrow past, and present.

Woodrow, Patterson’s upcoming exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, comprises some of the iconic sites and structures that define any respectable, but fading Canadian prairie farm community – Patterson has recreated large sculptural replicas of grain silos, a barn, the church, farm houses, the workshop, potholes so huge they might swallow whole farm trucks and large animals, and a road heading “out” of town.  Of course, being Canadian, there is also a local hockey arena (visited by wayward deer).  The structures and their inhabitants  (past, present and ephemeral) are brought to life through the wonders of animation and animatronics – in House, we encounter animated films titled Horseshoes, and Pests, and Bowling is in the church basement.  An animated film Romancing the Farm, which takes place in the Workshop, features some rather tattered, but endearing livestock, and a brief but poignant cameo performance by a prairie dog.

Graeme Patterson’s short animated films, Don’t Ride Shopping Carts and Monkey and Deer have been screened various film festivals – and have won first place awards at the both the Atlantic and Garden State Film Festivals.

In an artist statement, Graeme Patterson states:

“As a child I began experimenting with animation and creating miniature worlds.  Now, as an emerging artist focusing on stop-motion animation and sculptural installation, I believe that my experience as a child is major reason why I feel so connected and comfortable with my work and process.  The process of creating the puppets and sets for my animations come directly from this childhood experimentation. I have gradually developed a process that is definitely original. This is an important part of my artistic practice.

With in the past year I have become obsessed with a southern Saskatchewan ghost town called Woodrow.  My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have all lived there.  My most recent work has become influenced by romantic visions of what the town and rural life around the area once was and is today.  My intentions are to communicate a sense of beauty and character hidden within the greyed out wood buildings still standing in many abandoned towns such as Woodrow.

Since moving to Woodrow I have found myself engaging in various activities with members of the community. A large part of this community consists of my grandparent’s generation. Many of these people are retired and are quite dedicated to these activities. For many of them, staying active through activities such as bowling is key to a happy lifestyle.

Through my participation I feel as though I have become part of the community. It seems to be my main connection. As I continue to engage myself in these activities, it becomes more a part of my life. The “Games Room” is evidence of this. Currently all of my work is based on the “small town” theme.  …’

“Woodrow” will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, from March 14 through May 11, 2008.   Another large-scale multi-media installation piece, The Hockey Organ, will be exhibited in a group exhibition titled “Arena:  The Art of Hockey” at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in April 2008.

Graeme Patterson has a wonderful website: