Press for the 2013 show

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Critic’s choice

Financial Times, February 24th and 25th 2013 by Jackie Wullschlager

With sensual brushwork counterpointing grid-like compositions, these virtuoso still lifes offer viewers ‘a different energy’

“Today’s London,” says Emily Patrick in the catalogue to her terrific show of mostly still lifes, “is built from sheets of glass and metal with strong colours…smart, clever, witty, clean…filled with loud statements. Painting is an opportunity to offer people a different energy.”

Patrick’s energy – her ability to infuse a quiet genre with both physical movement and intellectual dynamism – makes her an outstanding, original still life painter. The centre of “Annunciation” is an enormous arrangement of flowers on a window ledge, but the drama is at the edges – light quivering on gently swaying leaves, animating the solid vase. The composition is anchored by a depiction of an apple branch outside, tough, muscular, pulled absurdly close to the window pane to stretch as a horizontal band across the picture – announcing the work as a piece of artifice.

Annunciation suggests transcendence: Patrick achieves it through engagement with natural forms, textures, colours. Her preferred medium, tempera and oil on gesso-primed board, allows rich, varied paintwork: leathery petals, glossy leaves, the translucency of water in glass balancing sharply delineated porcelain in “Teacup and Deutzia in Bottle”; crisp skeletal brown leaves set against abstract drizzling grey-cream marks, rubbed, reduced, to achieve piercing luminosity in the depiction of winter rain in “Tell Me About It”.

Patrick’s best works hold sensual abandon of paint in tension with restraining, grid-like compositions, airiness and fluidity: geometric window panes offsetting tumbling blue flowers in “Angel and Hyacinths”; the verticals and diagonals of blue panelling and a black-spined Penguin book enlivening the harmony of pale china and bright strawberries in “Still Life with Cobalts”.

The scale is small, but virtuosity, feeling, thought make “one little room an everywhere” – Patrick’s point, I assume, in the answer to globalisation of her depiction of kitchen debris, cauliflower, leeks, beetroot, around a globe, called “From Autumn to the Pacific”.

Fragile Beauty

Art of England, April 2014 by Joanna Gray

At first sight Emily Patrick’s small oils worked on a tempera base are pretty. Then one looks again and realises they are more than pretty - they are delicate. Another pause, another lingering look. They are fragile and the beauty of the peonies, meadow, magnolia, transient in a way that makes one stop. After interviewing Emily Patrick I have since spent many idle minutes caressing her catalogue and thrumming my fingers in anticipation of her forthcoming show at Gallery 27.

Their is depth to her work that belies their initial innocent beauty. Patrick quotes Thomas Mann in her catalogue where: “She is bound up with the good. She is rooted in kindness which is akin to wisdom, even closer to love.” Patrick herself is adamant regarding her art’s duty, if you will, to bring glimpses of solace. She tells me,: “My pieces do have a delicate, fragile quality to them that, when heart-broken, one can turn to and see beauty in spite of their sadness.”

…and a thirteenth

Galleries Magazine, March 2013 by Nicholas Usherwood

In the catalogue to her 13th solo show (Gallery 27, Cork Street), Emily Patrick talks about her art reducing the world to something we can hold in our hand which offers people a different energy based on tenderness, gentle beauty, delicacy, touch and the randomness of nature. In an increasingly fast-paced world, this appeal to the sensuous is intensely attractive and her subtle, contemplative paintings of subject matter drawn almost entirely from the domestic surroundings or the cityscape close to her Greenwich home don’t let us down – still-lifes and interiors of almost tangible textures, views of an almost Japanese delicacy.

Final week

Financial Times, 9th March 2013 by Jackie Wullschlager

Final week of this terrific show of mostly still lifes. Patrick’s medium, tempera and oil on gesso-primed board, allows rich, varied paintwork: leathery petals; glossy leaves; drizzling grey-cream marks, rubbed, reduced, to achieve piercing luminosity, in depicting winter rain. But Patrick is also an architect by training: grid-like compositions and games of perspective and depth anchor sensual brushwork in painting aware of its own artifice – intellectually as well as emotionally satisfying.