Leighton House Museum presents the first major retrospective of one of the UK’s leading black artists, Jamaican born Rudi Patterson (1933 – 2013), 3 April – 13 June 2014. Featuring many previously unexhibited works from the artist’s private collection this unique showing explores Rudi Patterson’s unique legacy. From his mid twenties Rudi lived in England, latterly in a series of West London council flats. From these eyries Rudi composed hundreds of evocations of mostly Caribbean scenes. Vivid montane landscapes, plantation villages , luxuriant tropical vegetation and crops, beaches with rivers flowing onto them… all somehow visualised from the urban jungle of West London, specifically the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
In early life Rudi Patterson was a successful international model and actor. Leighton House has collaborated with the Black Cultural Archives in Lambeth to tell the fascinating story of this cross cultural figure – painter, potter, thespian.
Patterson’s prolific output is testament to his tremendous creativity and interest in experimentation. He was self-taught and this Leighton House Museum exhibition focuses on Patterson’s landscapes and features works in gouache, watercolours and oils, although Patterson also painted abstract and linear works, as well as creating many ceramic and mixed media pieces. Working in an ‘intuitive’ style, Patterson’s landscapes are notable for their potent use of colour. Mostly painted in three council flats where Patterson lived, in Finborough Road, Hesketh Place and the Ernő Goldfinger designed block adjacent to the Trellick Tower, the landscapes reflect the tropical vistas of St Thomas in the lea of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, around Patterson’s birthplace in the sugar plantation village of Duckenfield. Patterson made his view of Notting Hill seem Caribbean by placing hibiscus flowers in the foreground.
Rudi Patterson’s works have been widely exhibited all over the world since his first London show in 1970, including many one man exhibitions in London ,and from Ocho Rios , Jamaica to Melbourne , as well as group shows in New York, Europe and the Middle East . Most of the paintings exhibited at Leighton House, however were found at Patterson’s flat following his death from cancer in 2013, are shown courtesy of his Estate and consequently have never been shown in public before.
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