“A human being is a being who is constantly 'under construction,' but also, in a parallel fashion, always in a state of constant destruction.” - Jose Saramago
Lyle O. Reitzel Contemporary Art Gallery, founded in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1995, is thrilled to celebrate the first year anniversary of its New York branch in the heart of Lower East Side with “All The Artificial Barriers”, a solo exhibition of new and recent works by New York-based, Dominican artist Gerard Ellis. It includes large, mixed media works on canvas, as well as medium and small size works on wood panels.
The work of Gerard Ellis is indeed painting with a purpose. For the viewer of these works, Ellis creates visual compositions that excite on a visceral level with vivid juxtapositions of color and form coupled with the possibility of providing potent metaphors. They exist as a vehicle for Ellis; they serve not only as a cathartic medium but also as a profound, intimate and detailed exploration of the unavoidable conflicts and tensions intrinsic to being.
We live in a world saturated with information and in an ever more technologically and social media influenced life, where the basics of a simple face-to-face interaction seems, at moments, to be fading away. In “All The Artificial Barriers”, the artist explores the everyday life relations, the dualistic nature of things and how we tend to drive ourselves more and more away from the real world and dive into a virtual reality.
Ellis makes use of a remarkable variety of techniques and mediums at the time of resolving his rigorous pictorial exercises. The emphasis on concept and composition becomes a distinctive trait of this disturbing and suggestive visual universe. The structural and expressive recourses of drawing are key elements in the process of materialization and depuration of this universe. We are faced with the display of an essentially playful, poetic, and reflexive symbolic practice, an oeuvre that takes us to the periphery of amazement, chromatic spaces, as well as the microphysics of its translucent materiality, induces in us a profound reflection on its vitality, and also on its ethic and revealing implications.
The use of animal characters has been a key figure in his paintings, where it can sometimes act both as a victim and as the aggressor, and constantly finds itself immersed in different dramatic and theatrical scenarios, punctuated by an artificial stillness and tension that halts the action, as if you are looking in on a static diorama, but at the same time giving us a strong sense of movement and dynamism.