Pat Perry talks about the America that holds no pretense. There's a brutal honesty in his paintings, drawings, photography and writing. It's as if he has traveled the land in way that looks to something metaphorically literary, but found something far more exhilirarting: realism. "The best artists have always tried to show us that we ought not feel the need to be cast in grandiose roles in order for our personal stories to be captivating," Pat wrote in an essay for Juxtapoz last week, and that is what I keep seeing. I was moved by his Moleskine works a decade ago, and now I'm moved by his paintings of a rural midwest in the 21st century, a place we speak of but don't find an honesty. Pat is searching right there. 

Sensemaking, his newest solo show opening at Hashimoto Contemporary in NYC on October 16, is said to be a show of the story of storytelling, which feels as about as American as it can be. America is constantly in a state of explaining what its story is, to itself and to others. Over the last 20 years or so, as long as I can remember being politically active or aware, there was always this sense that America was a story about a story. It never quite reached its apex or potential, was self-reflective to a fault, and nostalgic. Hashimoto speaks of Pat's work in this show as "Quiet and serene, these paintings and drawings offer a joyful glimpse into an invented world; one that’s closely related to the one right in front of us; one that we so often struggle to see clearly and make sense of."

Making sense of America, imagined or not, in 2021 seems to be a complicated task, one full of expansive dialogues and nuanced disagreements. These works are a tipping point. —Evan Pricco