This is to let you know that the next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery is new work by Don Eddy. All works are now in the gallery and available for viewing.
Eddy’s work of the past three years takes him deeper into life’s mysteries, explorations of nature, perception, and the world around him--natural and urban. While the artist’s earlier works were object oriented, depicting glassware, silverware and toys on a reflective series of glass shelves, his paintings of the past decade have turned to the imagery of what we behold in the world. No longer does the artist select images for cerebral, narrative or metaphorical reasons; he juxtaposes images in poetic relationship to one another, “echo structures,” as the artist calls these connections. In Donald Kuspit’s book, Don Eddy, The Art of Paradox, the author writes: ”an Eddy picture is a kind of Chinese box in which each stage of consciousness folds into the other, creating an all-in-one effect, giving the picture a magical density and grandeur.”
As important as the images Eddy selects in his new paintings is the subject of light through stained glass windows, nightlight bouncing gingerly off a French carousel, or the side of a car moving through city streets. Like magnetic shavings that coalesce through attraction, the images Eddy juxtaposes coalesce through what one might call “attraction,” echo structures of life. When asked about his new work, the artist wrote:
“These works grow out of what I call ‘lived experience’ as opposed to ‘cognitive experience’. The work is not an illustration of an idea, but a manifestation of an existential condition.
“Recently I was reading a novel titled The Historian and came across a passage that helps me write about these paintings. The central male character in the novel talks about taking a train from Istanbul to Budapest in the early 1900s. He reflects on how the landscape and culture change as the train moves north. He marvels that ‘the landscape itself seemed saturated in history’. I was struck by that observation and mesmerized by the word ‘saturated’. It occurred to me that these few sentences in the novel got at a small piece of a larger experience: it is not just that ‘the landscape is saturated with history’ but more globally every place is saturated with every other place, every time saturated with every other time. Further, one can sense place infused not with just one moment in time and history, but saturated with Time itself. Place and Time become living, dynamic entities of which any place and time is only a localized instance."Something like this is at the heart of these paintings. My experience is that every place seems to echo the heartbeat (even the heartbreak) of another place. Every place summons up the ghosts of each and every instance of history in that and other places. The world abounds in an echo structure, never issuing one sound, but a wealth of echoes through time. And any moment in time seems like a small and contained room in which the floor and ceiling drop away revealing all Time: Past, Present, and Future."
In no work is this philosophy more evident than in the artist's two paintings entitled "Place Bandit I" and "Place Bandit II." "Place Bandit I" is a vertical triptych with a detail of the Paris Opera ceiling and chandeliers on the top panel; the façade of a diner in Beacon, New York in the center; and the ruins of an arched abbey in Wales. Each of the images is a different period of history, from a different part of the world. Each has a column that anchors, centers and grounds the image. Chandeliers twinkle with hundreds of bulbs in the Paris Opera, hanging from a golden ceiling with graceful pilasters along the walls, leading back to a wall painting filled with putti and musical instruments, a universal song of beauty. The diner's façade gleams with sunshine which bounces off of chrome and glass bricks, as well as the window reflecting telephone lines and neon signs, the hub of a contemporary meeting spot. Light and shadow weave in and out of the abbey archways, revealing a carpet of lush green grass and pure blue sky. Like dispersed metal shavings that inevitably come together with no explanation, these images seem to belong irrevocably to a whole, to a harmony of the embodiment of fully lived experience; in truth they have but one subject, and that is light.
In "The Seasonal City," a four-panel work, Eddy depicts each of the seasons at the height of its glory, each in one of the city's parks, each resplendent in the fullness of bloom or snow or turning leaves, punctuated by vistas of city architecture, a perfect merging of nature and urban life.
Painted in 20-30 layers of transparent acrylic, one on top of another, Eddy's new works are, indeed, "saturated." Like the multi-panel concept the artist embraced many years ago, the paintings offer many levels of experience. These are works to experience and savor slowly.
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