Patrick St. Clair's artwork work deals with the internal world of desires, fears and aspirations. St. Clair utilizes his own symbolic language to convey a sense of uncertainty. The actors seem to be at impasses where action is required or where something has just occurred. They are often shown in solitude with situations or predicaments that seem at once ridiculous but imbued with a hint of frustration or discord. It is this tension in narration and juxtaposition that interests St. Clair. The images themselves are concrete but remain in a state of introspection closer to dreams. St. Clair uses this visual language as a way of communicating emotional states rooted in the processes of personal growth. The figures in his work perform actions both banal and quixotic to convey his sense of life as a duality of pathos and levity.
St. Claire’s newer interior paintings are different from his past work as they lack a direct human presence. The interiors themselves are stand-ins for ideas or states of mind. By setting up a scene with signifiers and symbols that can be scanned and taken in more slowly than the figurative pieces, it allows the mood of the painting to sink in in a more subtle way. St. Clair wants to avoid direct statements or any overarching didacticism so that each painting can be an experience more than socio-political statement. He uses nature and man-made structures as metaphors for a duality in experience that he sees on many different levels. As a person who is more of a city dweller by nature, St. Clair recognizes that there is something "lost" with the disconnection to nature. He sees the increasing progression of technology, digital and social media as a new horizon but also as having some de-humanizing potential as well. His pieces do incorporate elements that can be read as environmental statements. But St. Clair rejects any specificity in his use of them, preferring them to retain a sense of ambiguity, timelessness and mystery, which he views as the essence of what makes painting unique. St. Clair’s work has evolved from using figures as a way of communicating human desires, fears and aspirations of using an environment as a way of communicating these same themes in a slower way.
Patrick St. Clair received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.