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Dreams are made of this . . .

By |2008-01-17T09:00:00-05:00January 17th, 2008|Entertainment|
Art at Affirmations

Patrick Burton describes his three art pieces on display at the Affirmations Center Art Gallery through the end of this month as “little day dreams”.
That may be so for Patrick, performance artist and (beautiful dreamer) painter; but for the less-fantasy-prone his poetic visual gems are large, highly detailed, florid in imagery and complexity, christened with titles that are just a trifle, one might say, grandiloquent.
Christenings are, “Wouldja Wouldja: The Real Patrick Burton Story as Told by Zora Neale Hurston and Carl Van Vechten; “We Two: He Loves You, So,” and “Perchance: For a Time the Story Must Go Back Somewhat And Tell All That Had Chanced The First Night We Met.”
Side stepping these intriguing titles (dedicatory enticements to invite conversation and dialog) Patrick’s work is engaging eye candy that dazzles, sparkles, glitters, and transports jaded appetites to a bygone era of music boxes, nickelodeons, lace valentines, hearts and flowers — a past tense time of long-forgotten innocence, first-love crushes, gentility, and boudoir mischief.
A trifle kitsch, perhaps. A touch saccharine, one might say. But nonetheless a stunning creative display. (And, what every artist seeks to achieve — that often-elusive goal — a unique, recognizable style. Ah, yes! this is a Patrick Burton.)
“I don’t hurry with my day dreams to share,” says Patrick. “I spent five months on one of the larger pieces, eight months on the other. The small one took about a month. It’s one of a series of 12. I work on masonite board and use layers of paper mache. I X-acto knife the stencils. Each picture has a special stereopticon, 3-D effect.
“Along with sterling silver beads for border filigree, there are several Swarovski crystal buttons placed in complimentary focus at key reflecting points. Buttons are $25 each, but I don’t stint on materials or quality of my creations. There are also small metal hinges for bridging content themes. My pieces are fun to assemble, and I would hope equally fun to view.”
Patrick’s piece, “Woudja, Wouldja” is dedicated to photographer S. Kay Young, who’s an old buddy of some 30 years duration and also a co-exhibitor in the current Affirmations show.
They met at a music venue when Patrick, 16, sneaked in and struck up a conversation. (Kay was carried away by Patrick’s mod outfit.) Both attended the Center (now College) for Creative Studies. Patrick teaches art in the Detroit Public Schools and plans to retire in the next couple of years.
Kay, who teaches at Oakland Community College, is one of Michigan’s better known photographers. She’s also been for many years a supportive, outspoken ally to the LGBT community with several gay friends. Like Patrick she’s meticulous in her work and sets (demands!) excellent, challenging standards from her students.
Fifteen of her photos are on display (two of which were shown at the DIA). A majority are thematic to spring: flower close ups, blue-and-green moody, wooded venues. Nature abstracts. Precision moments of blossoming delicacy. Subtle, alchemical colorations. Small parts extracted for repeated viewing enjoyment from the larger springtime panorama. Antidote to winter blahs.
Kay’s work “breathes,” a quality that for many is a touchstone of excellence in photography. “In many ways Patrick — Piddy Pat — and I are soul mates. We shared our respective works, our spiritual insights, our personal triumphs and struggles for ever it seems. This show’s a long overdue visual reunion. Different creations, different visual paths, yet similar in so many personal ways.”

About the Author:

Charles Alexander