artist info


Patrick Duegaw (b. 1966) co-founded Fisch Haus, a multi-disciplinary art facility and the cornerstone of Wichita's Art District in 1990. He was a featured artist in the Smithsonian Portrait of an Artist campaign at the National Portrait Gallery and was a finalist for that year's national portrait competition (2005-2006). Duegaw has had solo exhibitions at the Wichita Art Museum (2009), The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art (2012), the Ulrich Museum of Contemporary Art (2017), and shows regularly in galleries in California and throughout the Mid West. His work resides in many private, corporate, and institutional collections, including the Ulrich, WAM, The Beach Museum, Emprise Bank, and the Kansas Health Foundation. He was awarded the City of Wichita's Outstanding Achievement in Art award in 2019. My Reluctant Monster, a short documentary about his solo exhibition at the Ulrich Museum, and Fake Tools, an animated short by Duegaw based on his series of the same title, were both official selections for the Tallgrass Film Festival in 2019 and 2022, respectively. His work has appeared in New American Paintings (2007), and has been reviewed nationally in Art In America (2007), and Hyperallergic (2021). His last exhibition, Consorting with Flies (Se Mêler aux Mouches) was held at Aussenwelt Gallery in Montréal. A solo show, A Mishandling of Sharps, is slated for 2024-25 at the Yellowstone Museum of Art. He, and artist Elizabeth Stevenson, currently live and work in both Wichita, Kansas and Montréal, Quebec.   


Five Lines, Duegaw's latest project, explores the power of drawing and the creative process. Five random marks made on a blank plate serve as a jumping-off point resulting in this series of abstracted figures: animal-human hybrids revealing themselves in a provocative tale of ignorance, manipulation and control, intolerance, hubris, greed, but also of justice and acceptance. It's part cloud-busting, part Rorschach test.

The Painted Theatre Project (PTP), an ongoing body of work, includes The Innumerable Anxieties, and the on-going Creation, Preservation, and Destruction series, reinterprets both painting and the basic rules of dramatic construction. These Productions combine installation, painting and theatre, where, in place of thespians, objects, and a stage, it instead features a painted cast, props, and sets. The action that takes place is rendered to imply movement, rather than actually performed, and the dialog is written rather than spoken. These static-theatre productions have grown out of his wide range of experiences, from the construction site to the stage, and as a painter in his studios both at the Fisch Haus and in Montréal, Québec.

The Innumerable Anxieties are a response to the early Christian tenets of conduct, known colloquially as the seven heavenly virtues and the seven deadly sins, in the form of a series of paintings that explore what the artist posits are “countless and mundane trials of the human condition.” Begun in 1997, this body of work portrays humorously nightmarish large-scale figures engaged in a myriad of circus-like spectacles: allegorical images that illustrate seemingly infinite, and uniquely personal musings, that meditate on an individual’s ongoing relationship with anxiety. The circus becomes the backdrop for scenes of self-perpetuated melodrama. The performers in these paintings provide a medium through which viewers may vicariously partake of danger, albeit through the benign perils of manufactured stress. The performance is complete when combined with the appropriate painted props, and sets.

Creation, Preservation, Destruction is a series of PTP performances staged in multiple exhibitions exploring the concept of a three-state simulacrum of being. A deconstructed play evolves as cast members (portraits) are chosen, sets (interior panoramas) composed, and props (provocative objects) created to further the narrative of one of the three states. Destruction, for example, is represented in an exhibition entitled Inadvertent Arson, which follows the cast as they struggle with various forms of self destruction, futilely employing props of paradoxical fire extinguishers, within sets riddled with potential disasters.


Fisch Haus: Duegaw co-founded an art organization called Fisch Haus in 1990.  Fisch Haus, originally conceived as a series of hit-and-run exhibition/performance events that transformed abandoned spaces in downtown Wichita, Kansas into art happenings, has now become one of the leading cultural movements in the State. Dr. Emily Stamey, Ulrich Museum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art describes these early events in an essay written for the Ulrich Museum exhibition's award winning catalog of Fisch Haus 21: An Artists' Collaborative Comes Of Age:

"For more than two decades now, the arts in Wichita, Kansas have been enriched by the efforts of four [artists] who dedicate themselves to making art and creating a rich and ever-expanding circle of artists and arts enthusiasts...Then interim director at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, art historian Henry Adams was taken aback by the phenomenon of a Fisch opening and the large crowd that it drew. Decades later, he recalls: 'What impressed me was that Fisch Haus was a truly populist venture and seemed to be really adding life to the community.' These were not traditional art openings characterized by polite chatter, dainty finger foods, and cocktail sipping. These were events that flew in the face of local expectations and drew ever-larger crowds."   

Since purchasing a building  in 1994 on Commerce St., an alley running behind a line of early twentieth century warehouses in downtown Wichita,  Fisch Haus, while still artist-run and grass-roots based, has established itself as a influential facility respected for its commitment to original and diverse programming.  The 21,000 s.f. building contains studio and gallery space, a full wood and metal shop, an indoor amphitheater, and a print studio, all designed and built by Duegaw and his three co-founding partners.  Fisch Haus, including Duegaw's home and studio, was featured in the October 2011 issue of Dwell Magazine, in an article focusing on the revitalization of Wichita's cultural identity;  attributing it, in a large part, to the emergence of the Commerce St. Art District, an initiative spearheaded by Fisch Haus. The collaborative produces several large-scale shows annually, and hosts numerous community art events throughout the rest of the year, most all of which are offered free of charge and are open to all ages.  In 2004, Fisch Haus formed a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation under the name Fisch Bowl, Inc. Dr. Stamey elaborates: "The Fisch Haus community remains an energizing phenomenon in Wichita and its example has inspired a host of other galleries and arts venues to establish themselves in the city’s downtown. Once an outpost on an abandoned row of warehouses, Fisch Haus is now the cornerstone of the city’s Commerce Street Art District. No longer a space for displaying just artworks by the founding members, Fisch Haus now regularly hosts a multidisciplinary roster of regional, national, and international artists, musicians, dancers, theater performers, and lecturers."

Duegaw continues to volunteer at Fisch Haus as co-Director, curator, preparator, stagehand, marketing manager, and maintenance technician.

Montréal:  Eight years after founding Fisch Haus, Duegaw became interested in the vibrant cultural fabric of Montréal, Québec, and made his first visit the following summer of 1999, building a studio space and beginning to forge relationships within the city. He has returned every summer since then, and established studios in several different neighborhoods. Many of Duegaw's major works in the last decade were completed in his studio at 24 Mont-Royal, in a space previously utilized by internationally-renowned Montreal artist Jean-Paul Riopelle. Montréal, and the unique milieu of French Canada, have informed much of his work, particularly an exhibition in 2005 entitled Juste Pour Rire that was inspired by the characteristically Québecois annual festival that bears the same name. Currently, Patrick maintains a studio with the Aussenwelt collaborative at l'Union Française de Montréal.