Patrick Owens was born in Gastonia, NC and raised in Taylors, SC. He received his Associate in Arts degree with an emphasis in Photography from Greenville Technical College in Greenville, SC in the spring of 2005. Patrick began taking studio art classes again in the fall of 2012, and he is currently working towards his BFA at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. Some of his photographs are a part of the Looking at Appalachia project and are in the collection of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University in Durham, NC. In 2017, a selection of Patrick’s images were included in the Contemporary Alabama Photography exhibit at the Mobile Museum of Art in Mobile, AL.
Alabama, Y’all Come
This work represents an ongoing exploration of Alabama, home for generations of my maternal and paternal families. The images are a symbolic continuation of the road trips I would take with my parents as a child to visit my grandparents in Tuskegee. There would often be detours along the way, allowing time for Alabama tourist traps or to leave flowers on the graves of the dearly departed. After the passing of my grandparents in the early 1990s, our journeys into Alabama became increasingly sporadic, and my ties to the landscape became frayed. Since 2009, I have been making regular treks to Alabama in an attempt to reconnect with the land and community my family called home.
Childhood experiences and recollections continue to inform my imagery, visualized by reoccurring subject matter such as commercial buildings, signage, cemeteries, and churches. I have always felt a curiosity about small town storefronts and commercial buildings and the “stories they could tell”. My appreciation for signage and typography has grown while working in a college art department that is graphic design centric. Losing both of my grandparents within a few months of each other was devastating as a child, and this experience spurs a fascination with cemeteries. Such landscapes of monuments and flowers particularly symbolize deterioration and the passage of time. Being raised in the church, I am continually drawn to structures that are a combination of all these elements: vernacular architecture, advertisement and iconography, death and decay, and at times, revitalization.
To view more of Patrick Owens’s work please visit his website.