Patricia Broderick, My Mother Making up - late 30s, 1997, oil crayon on paper, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of Ille Arts.
Patricia Broderick's (1925-2003) exhibition at Ille Arts in Amagansett, New York communicates memories situated in a particular time and place, marked by the autobiographical and everyday. Patricia's works ring true and personal, laying bare both sentiment and wit. Many are a nod to the past, with titles that pinpoint reflections as far back as the 1930s and 40s, including My Mother About 1936 and My Mother's Deathbed, 1943. The mother archetype has a powerful presence in this body of work, with loose figurative renditions that portray Patricia's own mother (Sophie Taub) as a tour de force, channeling glamour, persona and a consciousness of being closely watched, such as My Mother Making Up - As Oscar Wilde and My Mother Making Up - late 30s. Matthew Broderick described Sophie as "a flapper type person" but acknowledged that "she was very strict." Sophie was married to the advertising mogul, Milton H. Biow, and she passed away young.
Installation shot. Courtesy of Ille Arts.
The figure is dominant in this body of work, with subjects that seem poised for observation, but the true muse is only manifested memories. They are portraits, but portraits derived from memory, not models or photographs. The intimate paintings seem married to storytelling, with titles that don't close off a scene, but offer hints of place and time that allow for interpretation, and it is no surprise that Patricia's art practice extended to playwriting and screenwriting. Matthew said, "She knew everything about movies; she loved film and theater...I have paintings she made when she was thirteen years old. But in her early twenties, she stopped painting, and ended up at the Neighborhood Playhouse to write." She met Matthew's father at the Playhouse, and wrote for decades until picking up painting again later on in life. Matthew reflected, "She really painted steadily from the late '60s early '70s on. At a studio in the East Village and then one in Midtown," and her practice involved "forty years of more or less steady painting."
The oil paintings, drawings and watercolors themselves seem like painterly film stills recalling impressions of the past - recollections quite strong and present -- but colored and filtered by the passage of time. This memory-based filter adds dimension and beauty to the work, not erosion. The works leap across decades, but also pinpoint a few anonymous and quiet moments, mysteriously undated, such as Two Persons Embracing And Another Person, All Excited, Watching. More present rather than haunting, Patricia's narratives are fully open and timeless.
Patricia Broderick, Janet and Me and Mrs. R at C.P.W., c. 1980, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of Ille Arts.