Patté’s technical ability to work across disciplines is as he puts it down to a long standing connection to the film industry. “For years I was immersed in a world of technical brilliance, working alongside some of the world’s best in their respective fields’’. Following a prominent career in the British Film Industry Patté took a job on the opposite side of the world for Peter Jackson’s multi academy award winning Weta Workshop, where for almost 9 years he was sculpting supervisor. “This gave me access to cutting edge technologies, digital platforms and pioneering processes, as well as the latest in 3D scanning, printing, milling and material technologies. I was surrounded by this every day, it was a simple matter of osmosis. At every instance I aimed to make the most of opportunities to learn from other fields, to play and experiment with these new bits of kit, the whole time formulating ideas and concepts for my own body of work. It really was an incredibly informative and important period in my career.”
In 2014 as Patté embarked on a new thematic direction with his Lightwork series and his sculpture was similarly affected. “As I began to use more colour in my paintings and Lightworks my sculptures became more outward looking and in turn more colourful. I wanted my work to reflect the time in which they were made. This was the beginning of 3D printing. I was fortunate enough to be in a place where I had access to the latest in scanning technology and so I began to play. At first scanning some of my older clay pieces then body scans of myself. We rendered and abstracted these scans into new forms; digitally morphing the body, reducing it to its most basic form. These new abstractions held a different interest for me; much cleaner contemporary forms, lines, colour, immediate materials, faster processes”. The new sculpture works have a playful element but retain the earlier sense of solitude and calm. As with Patté’s Lightworks they are a response to space and our place in it. “I’m interested how placing a work in a particular space changes how we relate to the work and changes how we relate to the space around it. Are we looking at the work or is the work looking at us? How does it change our experience of that space, is it asking us to look at it in a new way.’’
His first work in the new abstracted series was a triptych titled Revision, Division, Subdivision. The first piece in this trio was sculpted as a clay full body self portrait, later produced in blue fibreglass. It was made as a response to what it felt like to have his work scrutinised and critiqued at exhibition for the first time. He says “It was such a personal, initially uncomfortable experience, kind of like standing there with no clothes on being picked apart by a crowd of viewers”. He later scanned this work then divided the digital mesh according to DaVinci’s observations of the golden ratio, the first division was then subdivided. Each time the digital mesh produced an increasingly abstracted form. With each division his interest grew. Patté tells a story of initially feeling apprehension as to how his collectors would respond to this new work and departure from his early style or larger than life size, cast iron figurative sculptures. But when the first two full editions were sold quickly at his first solo exhibition, his apprehension turned to encouragement and so the body of works has grown over the past three years.
About Specific Sculptures
Solace in the Wind - 2008 Wellington New Zealand
It was his arrival in Wellington, New Zealand, in April 2006 that marked a profound change in Max Patté’s life and work, best evidenced in his well known Solace In The Wind sculpture on the capital city’s waterfront. Originally installed as a temporary loan to the city, it was purchased by the council after winning as People's Choice for favourite sculpture at the Wellington Civic Trust Awards. Patté describes this work and ones that followed as “emotional portraits” – inward looking and contemplative pieces that flow from his own decision to make the room and time in his life for his art. “Moments of stillness, internalisation, quiet, self-reflection are what interest me,” he says. “This is why the eyes are closed in all of my own works – shutting out the outside world, or turning away from it.”
The prominence of this work and rapidly growing exposure in prominent publications including the Lonely Planet soon brought Patté to the attention of new international collectors. Further editions of this work can be found as far afield as Munich Germany in a privately owned rooftop sculpture garden and in the outback Australia. Patté subsequently took numerous private commissions including 5 over life sized cast iron clydesdale horses for a sculpture park in Queenstown New Zealand.
Reflection - 2009 Wellington New Zealand
In 2011, Sir Ian McKellen acquired and installed Reflection at his Limehouse residence in London. The figure looks down into the River Thames, deep in contemplation of the river’s past, present and future. In 2013, Sir Ian added to his collection the sculpture Another Time by Anthony Gormley. Installed in the River Thames, this work was “designed to be placed within the flow of lived time.”
Twist (Full size and series) 2015 Wellington New Zealand
Patté is following Wellington’s well-trodden path of artistic collaboration and hi tech ingenuity by calling on the skill of Kiwi company Zenith Tecnica, which reputedly has the biggest 3D titanium printer in the world. They have together created six small 3D printed titanium sculptures plus a full-sized 185cm tall statue of a figure. “This, as far as my research has found, is the largest 3D titanium printed sculpture, and a world first.”
Into Oblivion 2016 Wellington New Zealand
By abstracting the figure and bringing colour to its surface, Patté continues to have his sculptures relating to its surrounding. Looking upward and standing in a bold yellow that pops from the sky backdrop, Into Oblivion becomes a point of reference to take in the moment and the surrounding scenic environment. This piece was recently purchased by Sir Ian McKellen and installed at his Limehouse residence in London.