Patrick Terence Pye was born in Winchester, England on April 10, 1929. He is a sculpture, painter and stained glass artist. He was born to an English father, Peter, who wrote sail stories and an Irish mother, Dorothy, who was a professional pianist. His parents had an unhappy marriage. His mother thought she needed to save her son from the Pye family so she took him back to Ireland when he was about two and a half years old.
His artistic family background encouraged him to starts his career in the arts when he was a teenager. Even though he lived during World War II he, as many of his time did, didn’t portray it as much in his works of art. His paintings portrayed more his religious, rebellious side. Patrick decided to convert to Catholicism, favoring his grandmother, instead of following his mother’s footsteps, who was an atheist. His conversion caused his relationship with his mother to grow apart. When she died in 1958, he was 29yrs old, he felt that he could be more open to his religion and did most of his artistic work in relation to his relationship with God.
Jesus at Manchester, 1954, watercolour, 11" x 15"
The Mexican Bag, 1999, oil on linen, 10.25" x 12"
The Annunciation, c.2004, oil on copper, 41.5" x 37.5"
He developed his style as he grew up; he met many artists that taught him new techniques. In this first image he uses a Romanesque style: he includes abstraction of the background, hierarchical perspective (making the main character larger than the rest), and an unnatural geometrical treatment of form mostly in clothing.
He later improved his color technique. The Post-Impressionists taught him to do shadow by using cool color with a warm color contrast. That technique created sort of a imaginative brightness, as it is shown in the second image. He started using varieties of the same color for his paintings. In most of his paintings, color plays a crucial role.
His paintings tell a story, as the rebellious man he is, he likes to paint in a non-naturalistic way and he ignores the three-dimensional realism. He draws icons as modern instead of the traditional ways. He paints according to his believe of less is more.
I chose to research Patrick Pye because has an interesting story and is still alive, he had a personal input in what was written in the book that tells his story. This contact the author had with him is not usual in biographies, they are usually written after the artist has passed. But, in this case most of his storyline comes from his perspective, it might not be completely accurate, but it allows us to see from his perspective how he developed to paint the way he does. There is not much information about him online but his life is well documented by Brian McAvera, the author of his book.
McAvera, Brian. Patrick Pye, life and work: a counter-Cultural story. Dublin, Four Courts, 2012.