Artist Max Patté deconstructs technology to capture a world of colour.
It’s been ten years now since British born artist and sculptor Max Patté arrived on New Zealand’s shores, with a goal of travelling the world to broaden his horizons, find fresh inspiration and gain exposure to new places, cultures and practices. A graduate of the Wimbledon School of Art, he brought with him years of training in anatomy and sculpture, a resume full of jobs in the London film industry and experience as an Associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
What he didn’t know at the time was that, a decade later, his work would be world-renowned and have attracted a star-studded host of high-profile clients, with Sir Ian McKellen, Peter Jackson and Steven Fry included among their ranks.
Today, Max lives in Wellington with his family, the same city that houses his iconic waterfront sculpture, Solace in the Wind – which many consider to be his breakthrough work that catapulted his career into the artistic stratosphere. He is also well recognised for his larger-than-life cast iron horses, The Frolic and the Fancy, which stand magnificently at the Hills Golf Club & Sculpture Park in Queenstown.
Inspired by nature, his sculptures capture the deep shadows created as the sun dips below the horizon. But after working for years with clay and metal, he has since altered his course to more colourful territory with a greater focus on lightworks and paint. Now, the bulk of his more recent portfolio relies on a spectrum of Resene paint to help him create an eye-catching array of visually graphic pieces.
While Max’s previous collection titled The Infinity Works concentrated on colour, shape, light and space, his current body of work, The Droplet Series, is an extension of this idea. Inspired by the growing technological world, it’s an aptly named collection as each painting is made up of ‘drops’ of circular shapes using bold Resene paint colours.
Max says his art is influenced by how the consumer perceives images through apps and social media, and the visual glitches that can occur when an image fails to load. The image is then broken down into colour components, lacking the detail of the original image – thus rendering the content incomprehensible.
“I wanted to focus on areas with more ‘punch’, concentrating on bolder and more saturated colours. So, I took this concept and manifested works in my studio using the technology I have at my fingertips,” he explains. “The end result is a visual sculpture comprised of a multitude of colours, each one resting in a perfect spherical mass.” While the droplets could be mistaken as one dimensional, the surrounding negative space enables a spherical quality that’s reminiscent of raindrops on a window.
Max turned to Resene’s extensive collection to successfully capture the break-down of colour he needed to accomplish his goal. It was a process that required a great deal of experimentation and research and, in the end, he purchased 250 different Resene testpots to achieve the desired effect.
“Of course, few people ever see or understand these lengthy processes. It’s always nice to talk to potential collectors who visit the studio. It gives them a better understanding of a finished piece and helps form a connection between them and the work,” Max explains.
The Droplet Series is now part of Max’s private collection based in his Wellington studio which can be visited by the general public. Max says he is looking forward to the end of the year and 2020, when he gets to flex his creative muscles once more.
“It’s going to be busy, that’s for sure,” Max reveals. “But I have some really exciting and quite different works planned.”
Max says his clients are often big fans of the names of Resene paints, but his favourite colours are those that he often finds reoccurring in his work.
“I love Resene Broom, Resene Picton Blue, Resene Home Run and Resene Pink Lace. Pink is a tricky one. I have a work in mind that would require a huge amount of variation in pinks from very subtle pastel, bordering on creamy pinks through to bright, almost luminous pinks that could add a real punch,” Max explains.
He says that he has learned a great deal from talking to Resene technicians and understanding that this colour variation is possible.
Resene paints are a popular choice for many artists. See the online Resene Artist Gallery and the Resene Mural Masterpieces gallery for a taste of many projects created with Resene paints and colours.
To see more of Max’s work, visit www.maxpatte.com.
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