When I started trying to promote my own artwork online I kept coming across other people's art that amazed or compelled me in one way or another. This blog has been a way for me to practice thinking and writing about art, as well as learning more about my peers and all the incredible art that is being made out there.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Eric Stotik

Untitled - Continuous Series - installation view - acrylic on paper - 5' x 45' - 2013

Untitled - Continuous Series - partial montage - acrylic on paper - 5' x 45' - 2013

Untitled - Continuous Series - detail - acrylic on paper - 5' x 45' - 2013

Untitled - Continuous Series - detail - acrylic on paper - 5' x 45' - 2013

"Quetzalcoatl"  acrylic on paper  60" x 40"  2013

"Untitled" (bird, octopus, horn)  acrylic on marbled book endpaper
26" x 20" 2013

Eric Stotik's most recent show of work is dominated by a single piece that he worked on for the last two years. It's a continuous series of paintings on paper. And by continuous, I mean infinitely so, for one end is congruent with the other. You could hang the piece in a circle and then stand in the center  slowly turning round and round trying to take it all in. However, one thing I can guarantee is that you would not be able to take it all in after just one complete turn. The piece is so full of uncanny details and unpredictable subtleties that repeat viewings are practically demanded by it. There is a clear overarching theme of human horror. but the horror is leavened by it's peculiar surrealism so that the viewer is inexorably drawn into the world it creates even while being repulsed by it. Some visual elements repeat here and there riffing off each other; for example, a series of pits and mines (one of the smallest of these seems to glow from within suggesting a literal mouth into hell). Overall the piece is defined by the artist's unique visionary detail but here and there the detail fails to resolve, as in a small odd cylindrical shape emerging from the heart and between the fingers of a woman. Is it a cigarette? An arrow shaft? There a drips of what might well be blood descending from it. The answer could be both or neither. Most of the faces are rendered in the artist's typically detail obsessed manner depicting every wrinkle and fold of skin, but one is a soft focus mask of dark patches which only suggest eyes, nose and mouth. Not far from this cryptic figure a woman holds what at first appears to be some kind of cylindrical box, but on closer inspection the shape merely defines an area in which the painting remains unfinished, revealing the sketch and under-painting of the artist's process. What does it all mean? It's best not to ask such questions too rigorously, for the work as a whole is a riff, a piece of constant improvisational invention swirling around the artist's morbid preoccupations and predilections. You have to start by letting the whole thing wash over you. Then you can zoom in and fascinate over the pieces then zoom out again only to be sucked back in by another detail. All I can say is that if you happen to be in Portland Oregon this month, go see it. And make sure you have some time, or better yet go see it several times. You won't be sorry. And while this enormous piece of artwork will no doubt occupy much of your attention it is important to note that some of the other pieces in the show display the artists obsessions and obsessive attention to detail with equally beguiling results.
The work is on display at Laura Russo Gallery through September 28. More of Eric's work can be seen on the gallery's website.

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