Abstraction from a Still Life Painter

Eric Day Chamberlain at Shift Gallery through Saturday March 31, 2018

Stephanie Hargrave

Eric Day Chamberlain’s new show entitled Abstracts is loose, brushy, colorful – a lot like his still life and landscape paintings. He thinks of them as “collaged” paintings – composed of a series of random brush strokes, marks and drips. He works additively and reductively by both building up and editing surfaces – by painting around appealing marks and editing out others.

Although a lot of the work is about emphasizing mark making, there are a plethora of nods to his referential work. A strong horizon line links to his landscapes, and if you squint, the overall composition is very much like his table paintings that feature everyday objects like pitchers, cups, and jars. Placement is key. His overall sense of composition applies to whatever he is creating. It leaves you with a sense of balance even given the blustery and gratifyingly complex aspects of the marks. Like with his square oils that don’t feel square because of the angles of the lines.

The show is varied, with recent etchings, oil paintings, drawings and two older monotypes all coming together in this cohesive body of work. Perhaps because his practice is circular. From his paintings he makes etchings, which he refers to as representational abstracts. From the etchings he draws the image again. This continuation-style process keeps the work fresh and allows the pieces to speak to one another pleasantly. The conversation continues as his practice moves freely between the real, the abstract, and, in many ways, a bit of both.

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