ERIK BENSON • JON ELLIOTT • FRANK WEBSTER
September 16 – October 16, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, Sept 16, 6–9pm
Waterlogged presents works made with water based media, representing in various ways an awareness of and sense of urgency regarding current environmental and urban realities.
With water covering 71% of our planet’s surface, the effects of global warming have included rising sea levels, thawing permafrost, diminishing ice shelves, changes in migratory patterns, and increasingly devastating forest fires due to loss of precipitation. All pose an existential threat to our future. Failed utopian architectural ideas, combined with post-industrial structural changes in global regulations on trade, commerce, and migration, have caused previously functional cities to fall into disrepair and decay, creating a dichotomy between inner city and suburban interests.
The three artists in Waterlogged show an astute awareness of their surroundings and the current challenges we face, while processing these challenges in their own unique ways.
Erik Benson's poured and collaged acrylic constructions manifest a mimetic relationship between the visual information depicted and the processes by which they are made. Still life compositions within his landscape paintings depict mundane found objects, collaged together to create a kind of totem to the Everyday. These makeshift totems serve as actors, performing within the larger landscapes. The impermanence of these structures echoes the ideas of the architecture and theories of edge cities.
Throughout human history, religions have wrestled with the sense of incongruity between daily lived experience and questions of the truth of reality. In Jon Elliott’s work these combined senses of reality are partially reduced to flows and patterns of units of experience in a fluid dynamic system. Water based media play an important role in this process as they allow for complex conditions that inform the patterning which is a dominant motif in his work.
Frank Webster’s strong concern for contemporary environmental issues permeate his recent work on Iceland. After spending time at the Nes Artist Residency, Webster commenced a series of watercolors depicting the strange and ethereal landscape of northern Iceland. Although at first glance these paintings hark back to the tradition of the sublime and of grand tour travel paintings, on further examination they reveal a wistfulness for things passing, permeated with a sense of urgency that is emblematic of our current period of rapid climatic change.