James Patten remembered for championing generations of contemporary artists in London | CBC News

James Patten is being remembered as a fixture in London’s arts scene and a champion of contemporary artists in London, and beyond.

He passed away on June 26, at the age of 60.

“He was known for helping artists, especially,” said Catherine Elliot Shaw, acting director at the McIntosh Gallery. “That was his great passion. He wanted to see artists succeed in whatever way they could.”

Patten’s most recent position was as director at the Gallery where he had recently retired.

His early career started 30 years ago at Museum London as a curator for an exhibit. From there, Patten worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Art Windsor Essex before returning back to London and the MacIntosh Gallery.

‘He has many legacies’

Elliot Shaw had met Patten in 2010 when he joined the gallery. She was a curator at the time, and worked with him for the next eight years. 

“He has many legacies, starting with numerous notable exhibitions and publications that he spearheaded, particularly with London artists. Kelly Wood and Jason McLean, Kim Moodie, David Merritt, Sheila Butler, Ron Benner,” she said. “The list goes on.” 

Ed Pien’s 2015 exhibit at London’s McIntosh Gallery, titled Luminous Shadows, which was curated by James Patten. (Courtesy of the McIntosh Gallery. Photography by David Kemp.)

‘I was really being nurtured’ 

Visual artist Ed Pien, a former Londoner, worked with Patten in 2015. 

“He really was a person full of energy and full of enthusiasm and explored different avenues to make things happen” Pien said. “So I just felt I was really being nurtured and there’s no limitations.” 

“I really enjoyed working with him for his commitment and for his enthusiasm and for his knowledge of the arts as well.”

Patten also collaborated on projects and venues within the community, including the Arts Project and Satellite gallery. He was behind an online project called A Driving Force about women in the art world from 1867 to today.

A memorial is planned for Patten in London on Sept. 14 at Museum London. 

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