Panem et circenses, from the phrase ‘bread and circuses’, refers to distractions supplied by government to subdue public discontent. Artist P J Paterson looks to the emergence of celebrity culture in recent past decades to make a timely comment about the world right now. At this time of political theatrics and public unease, Paterson alludes to the absurdity – and danger – of the diversions provided by celebrity culture.
In his latest series of portraits, PJ Paterson casts celebrities under the gritty realist glare of the police mugshot, using found internet images as source imagery. Bowie, Jagger, Sinatra and more, line the walls in a moment of fame and vulnerability. Unlike most widely distributed images of the famous, mugshots exist within the public domain – allowing Paterson to sample the images freely. Paterson’s mode of sampling sees him painstakingly reconstruct photographs using a pointillist painting technique, applying overlaid dots and squares to the reverse side of Perspex sheets.
View the exhibition at Sanderson Gallery until April 30th 2017.
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