April 7 – 30, 2011
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present the third solo exhibition by Seattle artist Eric Elliott. The artist is a graduate of both University of California Berkeley’s BFA program (2003) and University of Washington MFA program (2007). Elliott’s paintings are defined by a thick impasto mixed from paint from the four primary colors that depict a traditional subject: the still life and the artist’s studio. It is in the artist’s hands that common everyday objects become an investigation not only of the viscous nature of paint but also light, atmosphere and composition; the formal constructs of painting’s practice. The exhibition titled Residual Forms showcases Elliott’s interest in observational painting in which some works are more realized while others are pushed toward abstraction.
Elliott uses light as a tangible object, holding as much presence in his work as any other physical entity. In Studio Chairs the artist very intentionally uses grey tones to capture the natural lighting of the Pacific Northwest. In the foreground the green and red chairs face each other, as though conversing; their presence becomes solidified by shadows while objects in the background become secondary to light filtered through the studio window. The light is heavy and grey, giving it a very physical presence as though it were a mist floating within the studio.
Also on view is the painting On Ice which at first glance is unrecognizable, but upon further examination the viewer slowly picks out the gently curving brushstrokes that imply the shape of Dungeness crabs and their signature claws. The artist’s thickly painted surface begins to reveal a repetition of form and volume suggested by the stacked rows of crustaceans.
These two paintings epitomize Elliott’s artistic practice; one centered on the tradition of realist painting but pushing it beyond the conventions of representation. His expressive handling of paint allows him to concentrate on the autonomy of the each object and how they inform one another. The subjects hover between dissolution of form and the clarity of observation.