Patrick Mohundro explains why the bathroom is his favourite creative space

Artist Patrick Carlin Mohundro’s exhibition hangs on the walls of a gallery, but he tells us that his favourite creative space is actually the bathroom. Image: Courtesy of the artist

Being inspired in this constantly connected and ever-changing world can seem difficult. An overwhelming quantity of different inputs, exciting for some people, oppressive and unbearable for others, bombard us at all times.

For Patrick Carlin Mohundro, “The bathroom is a playground for creativity and typically has water, both of which are essential to survival. At every stage of my life, the bathroom has been a safe haven– a place to cry or cleanse and for catharsis or preparation. It is a studio and a school, often equipped with a gamut of supplies and reading material. In my bathroom, tile is transformed to a zen stone for sketches; cleaning supplies: paint; cough syrup: binder; and deodorant: a casting plastic that smells “clean, masculine, and confident”.


It’s Wide Awake, I’m Mourning” & “Broken Codes” (C-07-15) [collaboration with Andrew McNay]
Images: Patrick Carlin Mohundro, courtesy of the artist

The bathroom is the only safe space on the domestic front. It is the room most likely to have a lock and there are few places for hiding. […] My material toolkit can mostly be found in the bathroom: cough syrup, porcelain, Speed Stick® Deodorant, Ajax® Powder Cleanser; but occasionally extends to the rest of the domestic space or allusions of domesticity. I make work that is pathetic—not in the common, pejorative sense but in a more archaic way: “affecting the emotion, exciting the passions.” For Aristotle, it was a rhetorical technique in triadic opposition to logic and ethics. For me, it is a way to learn to feel again while engaging with otherwise highly abstract concerns (technology, capitalism, identity politics, etc).“, Patrick explains.

“Broken Codes” (C-07-15) [collaboration with Andrew McNay] & the best part of waking up[collaboration with Andy Ralph] 
Images: Patrick Carlin Mohundro, courtesy of the artist

I call this approach Pathetic Abstraction. It is my antidote to the cynicism towards essentialized formalism and ascetic minimalism. As a hopeless thinker, it often is my last hope into feeling something in a world where we, collectively, are de-sensitized to our violence re-presented on the media or how I, as a man, have been conditioned to resist emoting. It is the intersection of the felt and the thought. It means that we still have authentic feelings in spite of knowledge, branding, and even with our austerely designed 21st reality. 

In making this way, I can simultaneously embrace and let go of some of the criticality and thinking, feel the emotions that the critically arouses, then let them go. Idealistically, the work could affect that sort of change for an audience.

“landscape pain/thing” & “Art Line to OR”
Images: Patrick Carlin Mohundro, courtesy of the artist

  • Visit New York City, the city that never sleeps, crowded and hectic. An architectural marvel with countless dazzling skyscrapers. Full of indie record shops and backstreet jazz bars. 

  • Stay at PATRICK’s cozy, light-filled apartment and enjoy the peace of Bushwick area in NYC

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