George Billis Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s third exhibition of paintings by Los Angeles based artist Eric Hesse on Saturday, October 20th, with an artist reception from 5 to 8pm. The exhibition continues through November 24th, 2018.
Hesse writes of “Almost Not There” as being “bound more by theme than motif, the work in this exhibit skitters on the line between presence and absence. Walls, water, brick and metal, atmosphere and mountain, each is set up to pique with strangeness and inevitability. Exploring the magic of contradictions, the subjects are simultaneously tenuous and formidable, inviting and frank, and a wry retort a question. Are we almost there? No, we are almost not there.”
Hesse describes his larger body of work as exploring “the act of building,” something “generally considered synonymous with growth and progress. In the cities I’ve called home, construction more often seems the imposition of one will upon another. Visually, the result is a sort of competition; angles wedge their way into vegetation and undaunted, the foliage always pushes back. In Los Angeles, the distinction between the created and the natural is most pointed, and the struggle between them most beguiling.
Encaustic is the perfect paint with which to explore this balance between control and chaos. In trying to wrestle a recognizable image from a fluid and often incorrigible medium, a tension emerges, echoing the drama outside the window.
Ultimately, whether cut with shocking brilliance or lulled with an indistinct haze, the disparate elements of any topography somewhat miraculously fuse into a unified vision: a landscape. No matter how brutish or banal our contributions to this vision, the unifying natural elements of light, atmosphere, and verdure never surrender. The result is to our benefit. We are never left with a pure wasteland, and our efforts to see and to know are never unrewarded.”
Hesse studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Temple University (Philadelphia), and received his BA from St. Olaf College. He has exhibited throughout the US and in France and was a 2003 Sotheby’s/Artlink International Young Art Finalist, the 2000 National Foundation for the Advancement of Art Fellowship in Visual Arts, Miami, FL (three-year Residency/Grant), the recipient of the 1999 Minnesota State Fair Merit Award in painting, and was the 1997 Adzak Museum Paris, France artist in residence. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.