Patrick Earl Hammie’s “Gnomon” exhibit on display at CCU’s Bryan Art Gallery through Nov. 10
Based in Champaign, Ill., Hammie is a director’s fellow and chair of studio art in the School of Art & Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an interdisciplinary visual artist – painter, printmaker, illustrator, curator – who mines personal and shared Black experiences, offering stories that expand notions of self, community, and other. Hammie spent a portion of his childhood in Hartsville, S.C., his mother’s hometown and where extended family still reside. He returned to the area to earn a B.A. in studio art with a concentration in drawing from Coker University in 2004.
The title of Hammie’s “Gnomon” exhibit refers to a shadow cast by a sundial. According to his artist’s statement, the collection of works examines historic lynching toward reconsidering Black experience. The collection of 17 large-format relief prints and 10 paintings are based on images of lynch mobs, transformed into abstract ink blots that resemble both bloodstains and hallucinations. Hammie’s artistic treatment of the images reveals the essence of their horror while mitigating their capacity to intimidate and terrorize.
Jim Arendt, professor of visual art and director art gallery, said Hammie’s presentation of content obliges the reader to consider and think.
“The works are based on instances of racial violence around the United States, and they’re re-presented as Rorschach black-and-white images,” said Arendt. “So the artist, I believe, is asking us to reflect internally rather than react explicitly to those images. The works are quite formally still. They’re very contemplative and beautiful to look at, but it’s really hard to see any kind of subject matter that would clue us in to what’s going on.”
Hammie exhibits nationally and internationally, and his works are in the collections of the David C. Driskell Center, John Michael Kohler Art Center, JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, Kinsey Institute Collections, Kohler Company Collection, Lawrence University, Purdue University, University of Illinois, and William Benton Museum of Art. Hammie earned an M.F.A. from the University of Connecticut in 2008.