Gregory Euclide works primarily with paper, using it not only as a surface to which he can apply paint, but as a primary material. He is an artist concerned with the interstice of nature and humanity, and he has taken as his primary line of inquiry epistemological questions regarding experience and memory. He is a painter of landscapes, but not a landscape painter. For Euclide, landscape serves not only as subject matter, but as a metaphor for the process of transformation and decay that is at the heart of human experience.
He views landscape as more than a reflection of the natural world—it is the plane on which multiple modalities of human understanding: biology, topography, geography and meteorology, meet. In choosing to map the topography of his personal experience through painting remembered landscapes, he replicates the collective human condition. Like a child wandering in the woods, our state is to be able to grasp within our limited perception no more than a general outline of our surroundings and disjunct details. These random pieces to an immense puzzle are reshuffled constantly upon recollection to fit the narrative of our life and self-understanding. Euclide notes that “once a moment is experienced it is impossible to correctly remember or own in its pure form again. It becomes a matter of relationships, a mixture of one’s memories, a twisted mess that starts to decay and take on its own meaning… created by our minds”.
What is ironic is that as much as nature serves as an apt metaphor for the constraints of human consciousness, it is also the greatest casualty of our inevitable, and sometimes willful, ignorance. The world around us is a result of the story the acting agents in society have chosen to tell themselves, and the gaps in our present narrative have resulted in a gross imbalance that threatens the environment. An optimistic nihilist, the thematic thread of Euclide's work promises that in as much as we arise from a great void in acknowledging this void we will reach a higher level of understanding and become more attuned to our surroundings.
The fragmentary landscapes that Euclide paints incorporate a traditional, realistic approach with a contemporary graphic sensibility. Multiple perspectives and realities are visible within one piece, an approach that emulates the accordion-like temporal collapse of memory. The resulting images are idealized, and yet imperfect. Unfinished buildings melt into hillsides, which in turn are eroded beneath layers of water and subsequent abstractions. While the outlines may be stable, the bulk of the objects depicted are in flux. “These are memories that have been thrown in the washing machine and all the colors are running together and they come out faded a bit. In this there is a highlighted acknowledgement of impermanence.”
Throughout Euclide’s pieces negative space plays an important role, both as a unifying component compositionally and as a thematic constant. This is especially true in his latest work in which he has developed a three-dimensional approach. This progression is a logical step in his evolution as an artist. Having built a body of work in which he “breaks the picture plane into various vignettes, little worlds within worlds” in order to “collect all of my past experiences collectively in one plane” Euclide has moved on to breaking up the plane itself, folding, stretching and twisting the paper upon which his landscapes have been painted in order to make the work “something that is discoverable and takes time to view”.
In this most recent work negative space has been transformed into a dynamic and integral part of the work, a tactile manifestation of the obscurities of the natural world. By inviting the public to explore these dark spaces, he leads the viewer on a journey through a remembered/ metaphorical/mythic forest in which the viewer must examine his or her own apperception of reality and relation to nature on the whole. The sensuous void encapsulated within and surrounding his landscapes denotes the limitations to human dominance over the environment and serves as a reminder that all knowing and memory is eventually subsumed by oblivion. In Euclide’s hands this seemingly negative premise gives way to a positive, and ultimately compassionate and humanistic, assertion of call to the individual before an expanse of white, as he puts out a call for humanity to collude with, rather than oppose, the immensity of nature.
Euclide recently has had solo exhibitions in Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California, has been awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board Initiative Grant through the N.E.A. His work has recently been published in BLK/MRKT Two (Die Gestalten, 2007) and Fourteen Hills (June, 2006). He currently lives in Minneapolis where he is a working towards a M.F.A. at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, having been awarded the Trustee Scholarship.
Born 1974, Milwaukee, WI
2007 BLK/MRKT Gallery, Los Angles, CA
OKOK Gallery, Seattle, WA
2005 Thomas Barry Fine Arts, New Work, Minneapolis, MN
Receiver Gallery, The BNS Drawings, San Francisco, CA
Hotcakes Gallery, New American Painters, Milwaukee, WI
Normandale College, Sometimes It Just Comes and Goes, Bloomington, MN
2004 The Arts Institutes International Minnesota, New Work, Minneapolis, MN
Gallery 360, From Ohms to Avenues, Minneapolis, MN
2006 White Walls Gallery, Works On Paper, San Francisco, CA
The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, WI
Bloomington Art Center, Bloomington, MN
2005 Minneapolis Foundation, City Seen, Minneapolis, MN
2004 Katherine Nash Gallery, Drawing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Rosalux Gallery, Built Up, Minneapolis, MN
Visible Fringe, Defining Space, Minneapolis, MN
Creative Electric Studios, Re:Connect, Minneapolis, MN
Stevens Square Center for the Arts, The Next American City, Minneapolis, MN
Gallery 360, Minneapolis, MN
2003 Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN
2005 Minnesota Museum of American Art, Minnesota Biennial 2D II, St Paul, MN
Jurors: Elizabeth Dunbar, Curator, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Theresa Downing, Associate Curator, Minnesota Museum of American Art
Soo Visual Art Center, Untitled 4, Minneapolis, MN
Jurors: Clarence Morgan, Professor and Chair, Visual Arts Department, University of Minnesota Michael Hoyt, Executive Director of Kulture Klub
2004 Duluth Art Institute, 56th Arrowhead Biennial, Duluth, MN
Juror: Christi Atkinson, Assistant Director of Education, Walker Art Center
New American Paintings, Ninth Open Studios Midwestern Competition
Juror: Raphaela Platow, Curator, The Rose Art Museum
Soo Visual Art Center, Draw, Minneapolis, MN
Juror: Suzy Greenburg, Director, Soo Visual Art Center
Soo Visual Art Center, Untitled 3, Minneapolis, MN
Jurors: Olukemi Ilesanmi, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts Walker Art Center
Sylvia Chivaratanond, Guest Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Juried Print and Drawing Show, Wayzata, MN
Jurors: Gerald Krepps, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota
Lisa Michaux, Associate Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Art