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Sharon Patten Featured Artwork

Sharon Patten: An Independent Vision

June 18 - August 30, 2015 Admission

I have spent the last couple of years trying to paint my way out of a corner. I seem to think that if I paint something I need—for instance, Freedom—paint Freedom and understand Freedom, then Freedom will become mine. Stuff like that. Sometimes I’m not so desperate, just interested—sometimes.

And, of course, there is also the creative process—always a thrill. Like life. They are the same. As it is in painting, so it is in life. Actually the creative process is an enormous pleasure to me. My work is lots of fun (now). It is my aspiration to experience that same enjoyment off the stretchers and outside the rectangle.

Inspiration comes and vision clears. Growth and magic occur. Messages get through. Paintings get painted.

—Sharon Patten, 1995


Sharon Patten was born in Sedalia, Missouri, in 1943. She received a BA in German from the University of Kansas in 1965. Patten moved from Sedalia to Kansas City in 1975, and began attending the Kansas City Art Institute as a full-time student, receiving a BFA degree in 1979. She attended graduate school at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia for a short time, but chose to leave school and move to New York City in 1980. Patten moved back to Kansas City after a year in New York. In 1988, she was awarded a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. It was also in 1988 that she first showed her mature work in a group exhibition at the Contemporary Art Center in Kansas City. Throughout the early 1990s, Patten’s painting gained wider recognition through gallery exhibitions in both Kansas City and New York City. In June 1995, she received national attention when her work was highlighted in Art in America magazine. Following a brief illness, Patten died in December 1995 at the age of 52.