Freeman Patterson: Embracing Creation
This major retrospective exhibition of the life and work of Canadian photographer Freeman Patterson explores the artist’s extraordinary creative vision over a lifetime.
Patterson lives in Shamper’s Bluff, New Brunswick, near his childhood home. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Acadia University and a master’s degree in divinity from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University. He studied photography and visual design privately with Dr. Helen Manzer in New York and began to work in photography in 1965. Numerous assignments from the Still Photography Division of the National Film Board of Canada soon followed.
In 1973 Patterson established workshops in photography and visual design in New Brunswick, and in 1984 he co-founded the Namaqualand Photographic Workshops in South Africa. He has given hundreds of workshops and seminars across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia. He has published twelve books, co-authored two others, and written for various magazines in Canada and the United States and for CBC Radio. He has been featured on CBC Television’s Man Alive, Sunday Arts and Entertainment, Adrienne Clarkson Presents, on Vision Television’s Recreating Eden, and on CBC Radio’s Ideas. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 1975 and appointed to the Order of Canada in 1985.
Patterson was awarded the gold medal for photographic excellence by the National Film Board of Canada in 1967, the Hon. EFIAP (the highest award) of the Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique (Berne, Switzerland) in1975; the gold medal for distinguished contribution to photography from the Canadian Association for Photographic Art in 1984; the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal in 1990 (the society’s highest award, previous recipients included Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Jacques Cousteau, and the Eastman Kodak Company); the North American Nature Photography Association’s lifetime achievement award in 2001; the New Brunswick Arts Board’s Miller Brittain Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts in 2003; and honorary fellowships from national photographic societies in South Africa and New Zealand, as well as honorary doctorates from Acadia University and the University of New Brunswick in recent years.
Patterson devotes three months every spring entirely to the wild places and his gardens at Shamper’s Bluff. And each year he returns to Namaqualand, which he feels is his second spiritual home. His week-long workshops in New Brunswick, South Africa, and New Zealand, his Master classes, and his presentations continue to attract people from all walks of life.
According to guest curator Tom Smart states: “Patterson has been consistent in his artistic purpose to interpret artistically questions of ultimate concern. This search, begun as a student, synthesized ideas formed as a child growing up in rural New Brunswick. It has been framed as a religious journey, seeking through photography a means and vocabulary for transcending the reality of the world by means of his unique imaginative iconography, intuition, and deeply probing sensibility. Religion and photography, art and spirituality, automatism and disciplined technique, the rational and the intuitive, myth, archetype, consciousness and the unconscious, over the course of his creative life this search for meaning has taken him to research many systems of learning, and form a richly textured ecology of thought. . . . His art compels us to recognize that the universe manifests correlations that defy rational explanation alone, and they occur at every single level of the universe, in the external world, in the deep recesses of the mind, and at the farthest reaches of consciousness.”
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition is a major book published by Goose Lane Editions and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, and The Freeman Patterson Tribute Gala on Thursday, October 3, 2013.
Curator: Tom Smart
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Fredericton, the Province of New Brunswick, and Arthur and Sandra Irving.
2013 Tribute Gala:
On October 3, 2013, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery will be hosting a Gala Tribute to Freeman Patterson in Saint John, NB.