Canvas Presents: PACK

By Patrick Colhoun

Launch Night August 31st at 7pm

‘PACK’, is an installation of 11 robot dogs made of ceramic and various complimentary materials. They vary in size, namely large, medium and small, giving an impression of a hierarchy of ages and stages of development, just like a family.

Patrick Colhoun’s work has long focused on issues around mental health, particularly the ease of access to prescription medication and subsequent societal reliance on that to treat anxiety and depression. The analogy of the robot dog, or Black Dog, represents the decline of the person to a basic functioning being as the senses are numbed. The relationship of each dog to each other represents what, to some, is the last meaningful thing to exist, namely family and community.

The aesthetic of the pieces will incorporate many visual characteristics recognizable from earlier work. Use of primary colours is prevalent and presents a bright façade whereby the pieces may look playful and happy whilst the subject matter is dark. Use of ceramic as the main material is complimented by the introduction of several materials not usually associated with traditional ceramics. Materials such as hosiery, Meccano, Corian, metal spikes and neon add a contemporary aesthetic.

The analogy of the PACK now reflects one of the few support structures left, namely family.

PACK emphasises the collective value of sticking together, the hierarchy of the pieces in terms of size will reflect a family unit, reliant on and supporting each other.

PACK is a collection of disparate, disconnected pieces, but PACK is a family.

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Originally trained as a ceramicist, Patrick Colhoun’s practice is now multi-disciplinary with sculptures and installations combining ceramic, hosiery, neon, latex, piercings as well as video and 2 dimensional works.
Throughout his career the artist has used the making process to help with difficult times. The first public exhibition of his work coincided with redundancy after a twenty year career. This was followed one year later by the death of his father. To date the artist’s work has been largely about memory. Much of his early work centered around dark subjects such as death, decay, containment and aggression with a desire to make un-savoury subjects into attractive physical forms.
The dark nature of the work became almost an outlet for a grieving process and a conduit for it to work through. More recent work is still heavily influenced by memory, however the artist looks back mostly fondly. The introduction of striking colour to familiar forms changes the mood and the dynamic of the work, making it more playful.
Returning to abstract form allowed the artist to explore coping mechanisms through primary colour and order and once again emphasize the literal importance of the making process in terms of coping with everyday life.