“Aesthetically I was drawn to vector-based programs, the same way I was drawn to Barnett Newman.”
Galerie Max Hetzler, London is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jeff Elrod, presented alongside early works tracing the progression of his practice. This exhibition marks a return to the artist’s drawing-based analogue paintings of the 1990’s.
Jeff Elrod’s work is rooted in the tradition of American twentieth-century abstraction. He is known for his paintings that employ a unique combination of digital and analogue techniques. Early in his career, Elrod developed a method of making what he refers to as “frictionless drawings”: gestural compositions that he creates in the virtual workspace with the use of a computer mouse and basic software. These renderings are then transferred onto canvas using both digital printing and manual techniques. Through this multifaceted process the original drawings are adapted and transformed. Elrod was among the first artists to robustly explore the pairing of digital and conventional painting techniques in order to expand the language of the medium; his working method has evolved in tandem with changes in technology. Throughout his work, Elrod aims to depict a kind of “screen space”, examining the dichotomy between traditional painterly space and the virtual space of the computer.
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For Hollis (1998), responds to filmmaker and photographer Hollis Frampton’s Protective Coloration (1984), a series of portraits of the artist wearing T-shirts pertaining to the retina, ranging from a Kodak logo to an eyeball. Anchoring the exhibition, the work reveals the complex ways in which Elrod harnesses painting and digital technology to explore the idea of the retinal. As in much of his early work, Elrod covers the surface in smooth monochromatic colour, recalling both the screen and industrial painting.
These new works simultaneously celebrate and subvert the Impressionist landscape, drawing on the artist’s surroundings, depicting the architecture of the quotidian both micro and macro, as in Turned Around (2009) which shows an avian view from the artist’s studio. Still-Life with Camera (2022), stemming from a drawing Elrod made of his desk twenty years ago with objects now defunct, serves as a sort of memento mori. Through modulated colour, veiled landscapes and still-lifes appear, syphoned through the lens of the screen’s TV eye.
Jeff Elrod (*1966, Dallas, Texas) currently lives and works in Marfa, Texas and Brooklyn, New York. His work has been exhibited in institutions worldwide including Kunstmuseum Bonn (2015); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2014); MoMA PS1, New York (2013); Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2009); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (both 2001). Elrod’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Menil Collection, Houston and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland among others.
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