Lou Patrou is an artist that recently came across our radar. He lives in Westchester County, though his work could just as easily fit in at the Coney Island Museum.

Patrou is a painter and printmaker who exhibits in gallery spaceshis last NYC show was at the Chelsea 27 Galleryand also creates licensable patterns for the textile industry.

The artist’s style draws on a number of disparate influences, from traditional Mexican mask-making, to carnival grotesques (like the Coney Island Smiling Man), to sci-fi androids, even MC Escher’s self-portraits, where mirror images of faces open onto parallel worlds within worlds.

A personal favorite of mine is a print titled Blue Flowers. At its center is the image of a white face with empty slits where eyes would go, suggesting a kind of inner-gaze. We see it; it is uninterested in our doomed affairs.

The meditation is completely balanced. Blue flowers are imprinted above and below the mask, a traditional symbol of faithfulness, while a yellow-greenish star shape flanks the right and left of the image. Four koi fishthe ancient Chinese symbol of good fortuneencircle the entire composition, completing its formal sense of spiritual balance with simplicity and emotional resonance.

Patrou’s modern shamans are not found hidden away in temples or remote mountain caves. They walk among us: on city streets, hanging down at Coney Island, and for those so inclined… on a pillow and bed-sheet at your nearest home goods store! (Brian Chidester)


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