The abstract images of Patrick Howlett are often small-scaled yet intense, works that can be appreciated for their individual formal merits and their playful invention. Alone and together, however, they also question the larger context of the status of the artist and art in our society, focusing on how it is made, taught, promoted, interpreted and otherwise ‘consumed.’

Over the last decade, Howlett has drawn motivation from the materials of painting, such as the use of egg tempera, a 2000-year-old medium, as well as the historical narratives of painting, which serve as both predicament and inspiration. He employs this historical material in cross-reference to media popular today, including the internet, magazines and digital design. A common starting point for his work is an image that is partially deconstructed (by poor picture quality, time, lack of context, or hazy memory), which he then reconstructs into solid analogue form.

Howlett’s practice also scrutinizes assumptions about art that deem it as apolitical or simply creative, revealing complex systems surrounding art objects, their economies, contexts, and philosophies. His work entangles relationships between titles and images, questioning applicability and inspiration. It therefore follows that an exhibition is more than just paintings on a wall. In Part-Time Offerings, Howlett constructs a range of scenarios where painting plays a role. The arrangements of works might evoke a busy studio, an office, a decorated home, the trade-show-like atmosphere of art fairs or, of course, the museum display.

Howlett teaches in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and is represented by Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto. This is his first solo museum exhibition.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Museum London Foundation through its Light on London Campaign.