May 18 – June 29, 2019 in the MAIN GALLERY
ARTIST RECEPTION Saturday, May 18, 2 – 4 pm
McClain Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Christian Eckart that extend his investigation of the sublime and meta-sublime beyond painting/sculpture hybrids into digital and photographic realms. Eckart's continual explorations are founded in an interrogation of various tropes of 20th Century abstraction, while attempting to delve into underlying imperatives that have persevered in certain types of "art making" since the Renaissance, including a need to address the ineffable and unrepresentable.
The exhibition title Trialectics refers to a triumvirate of concepts: the natural, cultural, and digital worlds. In cutting edge post-modern theory, the term trialectics refers to hybridity and/or interdisciplinary action which in its current usage proposes a kind of unity as in the unification of the mind, body, and spirit.
Eckart’s interest in the reverse engineering of paintings regarding the mechanics of their construction, both representation and non, has been a recurring theme in his work since his first solo exhibitions in New York in the 1980s. This new work also continues a visual lineage combining elements from previous series including Monochromes, Sacra Conversazione, White Paintings, and the Power Chord Cycles. By using internet sourced stock images in these pieces, he also questions the assumption of authority requisite to authorship. These new concepts addressing the natural, cultural, and digital meet with one of Eckart’s primary interests in his overall artistic career: the articulation of a meta-sublime in the form of constructed paintings. These images of Earth’s ineffable beauty and awesome grandeur have correlations to tropes of the romantic sublime in Western painting – mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, etc. Eckart’s use of a seemingly endless forest scene were inspired by Gustave Klimt’s birch forest paintings which seem to go on infinitely, yet the edges of the picture provide a finite space.
Eckart considers these works to be paintings that represent a new way of picture making in a post-internet era and in the context of virtual reality and artificial intelligence. As Eckart puts it: “The works are meant to demonstrate concerns regarding how the natural, cultural, and digital realms impact and inform one another as a result of their interaction, juxtaposition, collision, and integration.”