Patrick Cosgrove: Farms of Yolo County

Patrick Cosgrove’s art is born of an emotional engagement with the beauty of California. His aim is to interpret and make tangible, meditations upon the visual richness of where he has come to live after growing up as a rootless Midwesterner, a corporate brat shuttled from town to town, rooted nowhere. He has now traversed the Bay Area, Southern, and Northern California, and the Central Valley countless times and has been in love with this abounding topography for over 40 years. The undulating farmland, the incessant movement along the shoreline, and the mountainsides both rocky and verdant all yield a serenity from having arrived at a place he was always intended to be.

It is these meditative moments upon a land imbued with a felt sense of home that he wishes to share. Here, Cosgrove’s “Farms of Yolo County” portfolio in particular is redolent of a few brief weeks spent on his uncle’s Illinois cattle farm, moments that have stayed with him far beyond their actual proportion of time in his life. 

Working in Black and White puts Cosgrove directly in touch with the abstract elements of art; the reduction to monochrome emphasizes the stark value contrasts, the tactile surface textures, and the dramatic juxtapositions of shapes and lines. These visual elements often lead to a dreamy, surreal quality even for a subject as earthbound as a family farm. 

All “Farms of Yolo County” photographs are iPhone captures. Cosgrove’s cellphone camera has become his constant companion, and especially while working in Black and White the cellphone-to-Photoshop workflow has become second nature, lending fluency and immediacy to first seeing, then editing.