man's face with middle finger

The Department of Art at Linfield College is pleased to present Culture Shock, an exhibition by visiting artist Derek Patterson in the Nils Lou Gallery in the Miller Fine Art Center. The exhibit will be on view from October 24 through November 6, with an artist talk on October 24 at 5 p.m. in the Nicholson Library viewing room, followed by an opening reception in the Miller Fine Art Center from 5 to 7 p.m.

Statement from the Artist:

When you understand your racial identity, you begin to recognize what you gain or lose from it.

How old were you when you thought about your race?

I was 7 years old when I realized I was black.

The cops from the Rodney King trial just got acquitted, my uncle told me “this country will never be fair to us.” From that day forward I started to understand what burden came with being black.

Race is a subject that white people refuse to acknowledge, consequently creating a larger problem. Being a black man in America, my world is about making white people comfortable. I’m not allowed to show anger or frustration with what happens to my culture. The problem is white culture is the norm and the majority rarely have to acknowledge their privilege.

I believe white people are so caught up and consumed with the images and stories that they had been receiving throughout their lives about black people that all logic, accountability, and reason escapes them when it comes to analyzing situations dealing with black people. It’s easier for the majority to look through the superficial lens of racism rather then to accept their responsibility in the issue.

My work asks questions about identity. I use materials in a non-traditional way breaking away from the practices and rules rooted in the conventions of painting. Instead of oil paint on gessoed canvas, I use pastels on an un-gessoed canvas as a metaphor of how we can survive in untreated circumstances. My portraits convey a group of people that are constantly looked at through a lens that makes others comfortable.

I believe there is a hope for change if we have difficult conversations about race.


About the Artist:

Derek Patterson is an emerging artist currently pursuing an MFA in Painting/Drawing/Sculpture at Southern Illinois University. In addition to his present position as a graduate teaching assistant (Instructor of Record), he was Petty Officer Second Class in the United State Navy for seven years and graduated from Kentucky State University in 2016 with a BA in Studio Art. Patterson has shown his work nationally in both solo and curated exhibits. His paintings reflect his personal insights and observations concerning race.


About the Gallery:

This exhibit is free and open to the public. Lou Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the James F. Miller Fine Arts Center on the Linfield College campus. To reach the gallery from 99W, turn east on Keck Drive at the McMinnville Market Center (Albertson’s) in south McMinnville. Turn right at the first street onto Library Court. The art gallery is located in the first building on the left, Building A. Parking is available on the street and in the lot west of Nicholson Library. For more information, call 503.883.2804