|Eric Mack photographed in New York City by Christopher Gabello. February, 2015.|
Photos | Christopher Gabello
In 2012, artist Eric Mack displayed his work Honey Hollow during "Fore" (part of The Studio Museum in Harlem's ongoing exhibition series of emerging African American talent), challenging the idea that painting must be represented in a traditional, rectangular format. Mack's "painting," which was actually a blanket painted purple, hung from a wall and swayed in the breeze created by a metal fan sitting on the ground. Honey Hollow foreshadowed many works to come, all of which encompass the conceptual and performative subjectivity of ideas presented by the Maryland-born, New York-based artist.
This past Sunday, Mack's most recent work went on view alongside works by Brian Belott and Noam Rappaport at OHWOW in Los Angeles as part of the group show "Some Stew You Got Inside Your Plastic Bag, and You Always Organize The Parts So Close." Continuing his desire to expand, or perhaps nullify, the boundaries of traditional painting formats, Mack stitched together found, bought, and personal fabrics, frequently adding layers of paint, magazine images, and paper. The 27-year-old artist, who is now completing a residency at The Studio Museum, hangs his works throughout the gallery in a way that forces the audience to come face-to-face with and physically maneuver their way around. With his work Claudine, fabric hangs from a curtain rod, exposing the material's movement, allowing for a temporal understanding between viewer and object.
"It is alienating," the Cooper Union and recent Yale MFA program graduate says about the limiting nature of paintings on canvas. "There is a removal from considering painting as an object, which was a big challenge for me early on. I thought, ‘If painting is an object, then how does it speak?' I'm trying to get people to feel a closeness to painting."
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