Patrick Nagatani

Novellas (1992-2004)
ASG 2014

Canandaigua, waterless lithographgraph, 1992

"Everything about me consists of a kind of layering." - Patrick Nagatani

"Patrick Nagatani’s Novellas are a diverse body of work made between 1992 and 2004 with each Novella being akin to a short story. For each work Nagatani arranged a myriad of 2-dimensional pictures and occasionally 3-dimensional objects into dense compositions that deal with themes that have preoccupied him throughout his artistic career; illusion, power, violence, sexual attraction, gender issues, illness, mythology, death, rites of passage, memory, Native American, Japanese American and immigrant issues, and the dream world.

Nagatani used a variety of different media to create the Novellas, including waterless lithographs, color photographs, Polaroid images, drawings and handcrafted collages. For subject matter he utilized scientific illustrations, pictograms, advertisements, fashion photos, news photos, postcards, snapshots and personal memorabilia. The fusion of photographic imagery and manipulated materials bear a resemblance to Robert Rauschenberg's transfer drawings from the 1960s, works that anticipated the art world's ongoing fascination with appropriation."

From Novellas as Allegories of the Self by Maria Antonella Pelizzari.

Mystique (Novellas-Unbearable Weight), 1997

Nagatani's early Novellas were two-dimensional, but in a later sub-series called "Unbearable Weight" his assemblages included actual toys and objects inserted into the frames. An ongoing theme has been to poke fun at and raise concerns about how we as a western culture value the superficiality of physical appearances above all else.

Untitled Novella, 1997

Novellas (1992-2004) were generally five print short stories made from collages and sometimes framed with three dimensional toys and toy figures. In this work he creates images about memory, heritage, media, fashion, obsession, and bodybuilding among other subjects.

Captain Kodak, A Camera Story (Unfinished Novella), ca. 1994

Casey Crime Photographer [unfinished Novella], ca. 1994

El Altar/Memoria Y Mortalidad, 1994

El Nadador/Nacimiento, 1993

Solitario/Soledad, 1994

The Blues/El Vuelo Del Ganso, In Homage To R. Crumb, 1994


Kiokuryoku 1994 (Memory) [Novellas], 1994

Ninsogaku 1994 (Physiognomy), 1994

Terrifying Photo, 1994

World News 2 Headed Mother & 2 Headed Baby [unfinished Novella], 1994