Patrick Webb

"My work since 1991 has explored the experiences of a contemporary version of the the Italian clown Punchinello. I first came across the humorous and deadly serious figure of Punchinello in 1989 at the Ca' Rezzonico in Venice in the work of G.D. Tiepolo. I was immediately attracted to Punchinello. His phallic red nose and white hat struck me with their sexual provocativeness. His mask not only disguised him but marked him as an outsider. I realized that Punchinello, the trickster or fool from the tradition of the Commedia dell'Arte , could become the protagonist for my contemporary queer narratives. He is I and not I - both the other and the Other. My version of him is slimmer and without hump and incorporates the harlequin diamond pattern onto his mask. Punchinello has had many experiences. He died and was reborn, traveled into the American West, worked out in gyms, and played cards. In these paintings he watches, he waits, he battles and he confronts the unknown."