Ohio Lands: Heap of Testimony – Paintings by Eric Wright
‘Saturated with recycled tropes and styles of ‘the American weird’ as well as traditional landscape painting and a particular folk-tinted post-modernism, these strange landscapes play memory games with Wright’s hometown, the prophetically named Mt. Gilead, Ohio.’
[unretouched unedited photos of Eric Wright’s work by @Theartraveller; all rights belong to Eric Wright.]
Ohio Lands: Heap of Testimony’ is a hauntingly beautiful series of over 60 paintings, referencing the grandiosity of the 19thC Anerican Sublime but focusing on the biblical wierdness of rural America.
Instead of the monumental hugeness of, say, an Albert Bierstadt or Frederic Edwin Church, Wright makes a monumental work out of a collection of small pictures that make up an epic.’
The series made me think of a huge storyboard, a setting for True Detective or some other discomforting folk horror. I have been interested in American landscape in artsince researching it for my thesis/forthcoming book and Wright’s paintings is, I believe, a huge contribution to the genre. Given that the painter has long resided in the UK much of this imagery is remembered and imagined, imbued with the kind of apocalyptic visions of Samuel Palmer or John Martin, but decidedly American. I
I wanted to buy one of the pictures and I still might; but in truth i want to see them kept together as a collection and given their own room at Tate Modern, hung next to a huge, light filled window. I saw them at the unique and wonderful gallery The Horse Hospital in London.
I adore these paintings. They plug straight into everything that moves me. Wright is a higly skilled oil painter, who paints defly ans with great delicacy, yet his images pack a huge amount of detail and feeling into their small space.
Astonishingly, the very day after I saw OHIO LANDS, Eric Wright’s evocation of the problematic, American sublime in contemporary painting, I finally managed to get my own copy of ‘American Visions’ by the great critic Robert Hughes.
I pored over the book many times in the library but couldn’t manage to buy it.
Anyway they make a great pair, and can sit on my shelf with Bierstadt and Thomas Cole.