"Posturban Wildlife at Night" by Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

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Mail art by IUOMA member Joey Patrickt (Oakland, California, USA)

August 13, 2015 - Joey Patrickt sent me this highly conceptual, textual-visual work that raises questions about meaning and randomness, among other issues. My approach is to see the various pieces posted here as a single, unified artwork. The puzzle stands at the center.

The pieces in the envelope reveal his keen sense of humor and irony as well as his ability to construct systems and structures. Initially, I appreciated Joey Patrickt’s ability to create self-contained, postcard-style pieces that have instant appeal in the network. But as this and other pieces I have received from him indicate, he has formidable talent as a conceptualist who can put together a compelling package.

The majority of the material is cut from old publications:

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And the reverse:

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Joey Patrickt references “POSTURBAN,” but this mail art conjures the postmodern. The work focuses on the process of weaving materials together into structures and designs. These objects can express meaning but also have both spiritual and utilitarian functions. Also included is a piece about floors:

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Absurdity is working here, as is Joey Patrickt’s ongoing critique of consumer culture. Are vinyl floors and oriental carpets being purposely placed in relation to each other? The unaltered page has the quality of Trashpo mailings, which often contain this kind of unadorned found material. The purpose is ambiguous. and this piece of mail art retains ambiguity. The recipient can view such inclusions as finished art or use it in a new piece or simply pass it along. Here is the reverse side:

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“POSTURBAN WILDLIFE AT NIGHT” is, in my estimation, an exceptionally done piece of mail art in the conceptual art strain. I can make the case that it is a thoughtfully constructed system intended to make a point about process and meaning. Yet a tension exists where the tropes that establish its meaning threaten to collapse into an envelope of nothing but old magazine clippings and a plastic puzzle. Many people must view it that way. And it is precisely the “shadow of doubt” that gives the work its true strength. We are compelled to consider what is and is not art. We are compelled to consider the relation of constructs to reality. We can glimpse – perhaps just for a moment – a place where art and life are a unified whole due to the dislocations inherent in the work. Many thanks, again, to Joey Patrickt!.

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