Resident on the vast high-desert reservation of the American Southwest, Patrick Dean Hubbell works in response to Dinétah, his tribal lands. Through large-format oil paintings representative of nature and the landscape, Hubbell adheres to an integrity in abstraction passed down through the Navajo weaving tradition. Ranging from bold colours to subtle monochromatic works, his canvases integrate a variety of line qualities and expressive mark-making with symbolic elements of Diné design, found in weaving, basketry or beadwork. The cross motif and zigzag pattern reoccur with geometric certainty, the latter symbolising the flow of energy in water, wind and lightning.
Hubbell’s practice is rooted in a deep connection to his ancestral lands, sustaining the profound spiritual and cultural alignment with the earth that is expressed by a Navajo worldview. In the EARTH/PARADIGM series, oil and natural earth pigments are gathered from the distinct ochre and sienna-hued dirt found in Dinétah. The expressive personality of his work allows the viewer a momentary foray into the towering sandstone columns of Monument Valley and red sandstone scrublands of Arizona and New Mexico. Working on the floor rather than the easel, Hubbell’s process continues the trajectory of traditional Navajo sandpainting –a healing ritual in which a medicine man paints with loose sand and ground minerals on the soil floor of a hogan. Propelled by respect for his Navajo culture and fascination with the techniques and theories of mid-century abstract expressionism, specifically the work of Jackson Pollock, Hubbell explores the correlations and conflicts of his indigenous and contemporary mindset.
Patrick Dean Hubbell attended Arizona State University where he received a Bachelors of Fine Art in Painting and Drawing and a minor in American Indian Studies. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions including at the Heard Museum, Rochester Contemporary Art Centre, Peters Projects Santa Fe, The Autry Museum of the West, Los Angeles and the MEI Gallery, Arizona. He was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation. Hubbell currently lives and works in Window Rock, Arizona.
Text by Verity Seward
Patrick Dean Hubbell's work was featured in the exhibition Substrata at The Baldwin Gallery, 04.06.209 – 18.06.2019.