Stephen Haller Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of dynamic new paintings by Ron Ehrlich: White Light. Described by art critic Dominique Nahas as “startling in their boldness and directness and surprising in their infinite subtleties,” Ehrlich’s paintings reveal a rare level of skill and a complex methodology.
Ehrlich tackles his paintings with a contrasting muscularity and intellectual vigor. His provocative and intense personality is evident in the vitality of this new body of work.
Best known as a pyrotechnical colorist wielding a blowtorch among other techniques, Ehrlich sees this new series of paintings as a natural evolution. He says he has always wanted to create a metaphor for freedom, and this series is an attempt to get rid of more constraints – to “blow off the edges of the work.”
This new series is a focused exploration of the use of white in his palette and a new sense of color relationships. Ehrlich says he is exploring the light that comes off a white painting in contrast to the light of a dark painting as in the dark backgrounds of a Rembrandt painting for example.
Applying the paint in larger sweeping gestures, Ehrlich brings his work to another level in the process. Yet he is leaving nothing behind. There are areas like small windows in the work exposing the life of the painting: the drawing, mark making, images sensed underneath. In this series he is also allowing more of the wood panel ground to show. This has the effect of giving the viewer a greater awareness of the actual depth of Ehrlich’s layering of paint, resulting in a nearly three dimensional quality to the work.
Ehrlich describes his work as “somatic” and says he is intensely aware of the visceral gesture and of his body size, his weight and how he uses it – literally putting his weight into the painting. A Promethean talent, Ehrlich engages in a frenzied dance with his work – ever reaching, ever engaging, ever venturing.