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In Memoriam - James Patten, June 26, 2022

The art community is deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of James Patten on June 26, 2022, at the age of 60.

Portrait of James Patten

James was the former Director of McIntosh Gallery having retired in November 2021 after 11 years of service with Western.

He earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in art history from McGill before completing curatorial internships at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

James would follow his passion and make art the focus of his entire professional life.

His early public gallery career included curatorial positions at Museum London and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. James served as Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Windsor from 2002 until 2006, when he was promoted to the position of Chief Curator. He was also an adjunct professor in the School of Visual Arts at the University of Windsor. In 2010, James was named Director and Chief Curator of McIntosh Gallery.

James’ numerous notable exhibitions and publications on contemporary Canadian and international artists included solo projects with Ed Pien, Kelly Wood, Jason McLean, Adrian Norvid, Janet Werner, Kim Moodie, David Merritt, Sheila Butler, and Shelley Niro.

He will be remembered for his unwavering support of artists through exhibitions, purchases of their work, and recommendations for grants and competitions. He actively pursued strategic acquisitions, especially by women artists, to improve the McIntosh Collection holdings, and collaborated with various community organizations to realize exhibitions and public art installations.

James initiated the website A Driving Force featuring women artists, collectors, donors, writers, administrators, educators, and volunteers in the London art community for the past 150 years.

James will be greatly missed by a large circle of friends and colleagues, and especially by the many artists who benefitted from his championing of their work.

He is survived by his mother, Doreen, and older brothers, Terry and Peter.


In collaboration with Museum London, a memorial gathering will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2022, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. (speeches at 2:30 p.m.) in the Lorraine Ivey Shuttleworth Community Gallery on the second level of Museum London, 421 Ridout Street, London, Ontario.

(Photo: HRM Photography)