Local artist drawing on experience, the unnoticed in works for new exhibit

PLAINVIEW – Life experiences color the work of any artist, and Patrick Jernigan is no different. Raised in New Orleans and influenced by the many artistic and ethnic flavors there, Jernigan’s work is what he calls “a tap on the shoulder.”

Jernigan’s recent works will be gathered into an exhibit on display at the Abraham Art Gallery at Wayland Baptist University, slated to open Oct. 31 and run through Nov. 20.

Called “Damage and Grace,” the show will include acrylic paintings, ink drawings and photography by Jernigan. The exhibit is named for Jernigan’s take on life in general.

“Life causes damage and we all come through with dents and scratches,” he said. “Grace is how we live with our scars.”

An artist for the past ten years, Jernigan moved to Plainview with wife Kristy, a teacher at Plainview High School, four years ago. They have a three-year-old son, Ian. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wayne State University in Nebraska, where he met his wife.

Jernigan describes his artistic style as pop surrealism, and his main ambition as an artist is to communicate to the viewer and let them solve the mystery. He also likes to paint in visual parables: some are fables, some are fiction and some are moral tales. His work draws on his life in Louisiana as well as Kansas, Iowa and Oregon, and as the child of a minister, an important aspect in his art development.

His ink drawings tend to be on the smaller scale, a deliberate act, he says, to help draw the viewer into the “intimate” drawings. His photography involves things visible to others but often unexpected. The pieces for this exhibit will reflect a regional feel.

“I read somewhere once that ‘Velasquez paints what he sees, El Greco paints what he wants to see and Goya paints what nobody sees,’” said Jernigan. “I identify myself with Goya’s style; I like to shoot what nobody is looking at.”

Dr. Candace Keller, curator of the gallery and professor of art at Wayland, said Jernigan’s photographs “explore fresh perspectives and unique angles on the ordinary.”

“Patrick's works can be read as visual ponderings,” she said. “His drawings and paintings present imagery that is sometimes humorous, often ironic, and rich with layers of narrative depth.”

Keller noted that the year’s exhibit lineup is unique in that the gallery will be featuring the works of individual artists from the region “who represent a diversity of talent in close proximity.”

A reception for the artist will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31 in the Abraham Gallery and the atrium area. The public is invited at no admission charge.

The art gallery is located in the lower level of the Mabee Learning Resources Center and is open during regular library hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 2-5 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at 291-3710.