JOHN ERICKSON & GERALD PURDY
DOWNY DOXEY-MARSHALL in the Dibble Gallery
John Erickson's grasp of academic realism and Renaissance space is nothing short of masterful. At the same time, his love for postmodern, intuitive impulses is manifest. We see a push and pull between chaos and order that plays out on his canvases, creating a visual tension that makes his work exciting.
During the past year, Erickson has focused on putting his own filter on both societal tensions and the scenery found on his bicycle commute. He has approached this subject matter with his usual blend of Renaissance realism and postmodern intuition.
“I build each painting beginning with a substructure of mixed media arriving at an abstracted state. Three-dimensional volume is described in paint and flat compositional elements are dominated by applied paper collage. Both paint and paper fight for dominance in a visual debate with incongruent voices. The design can be said to have occurred accidentally. I intend to see how close I can come to failure and still get back to meaning.”
Erickson’s work pushes us as viewers to the edge of our comfort zones, yet leaves us so intrigued that we feel compelled to gaze at each piece in an attempt to digest his complexity of academic thought, feeling and intuition.
In 1976, Erickson received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, studying under the direction of Alvin Gittins and V. Douglas Snow. He then attended The Summer Fellowship at Yale University, studying with Wolf Kahn, Louis Finkelstein and Philip Guston. He returned to the University of Utah and received his Master of Fine Arts in 1981. After graduating, Erickson began teaching fine art at the University of Utah and has been an Assistant Professor there for over 30 years.
At first glance, Gerald Purdy Purdy reveals masterful draftsmanship and painting execution. Looking closer, we see a tongue-in-cheek narrative told with charm and wit. In fact, amusement pervades Purdy’s subject matter.
“My work is created out of a basic human anxiety that has been formed through personal experience in contemporary society. … Aspiring to freedom, I embrace anarchy through comedic irony and humor.”
Originally from the Midwest, Purdy came to Phillips Gallery via a short teaching stint in print-making at the University of Utah during the late ‘60’s-early ‘70’s. His accolades are numerous, including two awards received in 1989 and 1992 from the Borchard Foundation, “An International Conference of Humor in Art,” while he was an Artist in Residence at the foundation in Missillac, France. He now lives near Portland, Oregon.
Downy Doxey-Marshall says of Immerse, in our Dibble Gallery: “As a child I dreamt of having a pond in my backyard. The thoughts of floating in a glass-bottom boat, inspecting all the fascinating details underwater seemed ideal. As I look at nature I am continually making comparisons of colors and shapes. Looking at the gradual value shifts, noticing the space between branches, or how light reflects off puddles. Nature has the power to heal the spirit. Though wild natural spaces are not always accessible throughout our busy routines, spending time with a painting can also have the same effect. I leave my painting process exposed to create an opportunity for the viewer to experience these paintings formally, with a focus on how it feels to be immersed in the details of nature.”
Doxey Marshall received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in 1988, and a Master of Fine Arts from Brigham Young University. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University.
Phillips Gallery, celebrating Utah artists since 1965.
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