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Patrick Foran

Patrick Foran

Patrick Foran is an artist and educator based in Buffalo, NY. Originally from Michigan, Foran received his BA from the University of Michigan. He went on to study English and Visual Studies at Cornell University, where he received his MA. Most recently he received his MFA from the University at Buffalo in Visual Studies and Art. He currently resides in Buffalo, where he teaches studio art and writing at the University at Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, Niagara Community College and Niagara University.

Foran’s work conceptualizes various articulations of portraiture in relation to war, politics, mass media and popular culture. He explores the face as a point of reflection for power structures, politics and objectification, as noted in his artist statement:

“The face is a sociological and, increasingly, a technological production. It is a topography, an apparatus that hovers above the head, literally a sur-face (“above appearance”) onto which various power structures are projected. In this way, the face emerges as a contested site of political meaning: the subjectification of the individual and the objectification of the subject. It has been instrumentalized, an apparatus by which to exercise authority, recognition-control, and sovereignty.”[1]

His most recent series is comprised of charcoal drawings, which seek to disorient the viewers’ automatic processes to recognize and identify individual characteristics through the face. He explores the ideological implications of producing “new faces,” specifically as they operate not to be identified and recognized, but rather to be unrecognizable tools for specific political and cultural entities. He elaborates on this idea further, saying:

“These images are not masked or concealed faces; they represent the production of a new face under the domain of a specific semiotic regime. This ‘new face’ is mobilized as an instrument in the service of the military, the CDC, the Super Bowl, Disneyworld. The portraits have been rendered featureless, the points of identification excised, but in essence all representations disseminated through the media are “defaced,” deployed as signifiers for other symbolic orders. Here, there is a potential for deconstructing the facelessness of portraiture and articulating an aesthetic of the unrepresentable, to demonstrate the incommensurability of the face with whatever it is claimed to represent.”[2]

Foran has exhibited his works regionally and nationally. He has been featured in group shows at the Palette Gallery in Grand Rapids, MI, the Buffalo Arts Studio, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center in Buffalo, NY and El Museo Gallery in Buffalo, NY. He has been featured in solo exhibitions at The Cass Project in Buffalo, NY, Canisius College, Niagara Community College, and the Castellani Art Museum in Lewiston, NY.

For more information on Patrick Foran’s work, please visit:

[1] “Patrick Foran Artist Statement,” Burchfield Penney Artist File.

[2] “Patrick Foran Artist Statement,” Burchfield Penney Artist File.