Christopher Pate, January 29


For my exhibition "Amerigo", I will be exhibiting one large painting and a group of works on paper. These works were spurred by contemplation of the European exploration and invasion of what came to be called America and the man this 'New World' was named after, Amerigo Vespucci. Vespucci was a curious character who happened to be in just the right place at just the right time to receive the honor of his name being eternally glorified in the naming of two continents. One could say he deserved the honor principally as a master self-promoter and clever huckster, whose inflated claims for his skills of navigation and tall tales of voyages at sea served to attract royal money to fund his explorations. Besides offering a compelling metaphor for the manner in which artists posture to fund their own explorations, there is obviously much to consider in terms of that moment in history when Native American cultures fell to disease and plunder by European invaders and how much, or how little, has really changed since then. The window into history may often be foggy and obfuscating, but certain traits of our forebears carry forth clear as day. The slick salesmanship behind the corporate machine finds no border that can't be traversed, no population that can't be effectively colonized. Amerigo Vespucci embodies this thirst for continual expansion.

Christopher Pate (born 1965 St. Louis, Missouri, raised in Boise, Idaho) has lived and worked in Los Angeles for over 25 years. He has spent this time investigating the role of painting and drawing in contemporary society, which led to a sequence of particular projects. In recent years, the work has coalesced into an amalgam of abstraction, representation, collage and pop imagery, forming principally abstract meditations on history and the imperfection of memory.

Solo exhibitions include “Flyover” at Jail, Los Angeles, CA, 2008, “Float Some and Jet Some” at Cartelle, Marina del Rey, CA, 2005, “Horizons and Archipelagos” at Roberts and Tilton, Los Angeles, CA, 2000, with an upcoming solo exhibition in March, 2011 at Marine, Venice, CA. Notable curatorial ventures include the series of four “Rogue Wave” exhibitions at LA Louver (2001-2009), “Hef” at Jail, Los Angeles, CA, 2008, and “Tripindicular” at Lemon Sky, Los Angeles, CA, 1999.

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