Terry Eise’s Unfiltered opens at GCCR Friday
An upcoming show at the Gay Community Center entitled “Unfiltered” will feature a new series of paintings by visual artist Terry Eise. If you are a follower of Eise’s previous work, you may be shocked by his new series. Since his last exhibition, his work has taken a somewhat extreme shift from his previous realist portraits to become more abstracted; an abstraction accompanied by influence from graffiti art.
Eise has undergone similar dramatic transitions in his work before. His early paintings take heavy influence from Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s and 1960s. However, he slowly altered his work to experiment with more realist, representational portraits.
His new series is something completely new for Eise. It stems from his affinity for graffiti art, which he discovered while photographing Dock Street in Shockoe Bottom. Seeing the graffiti on the trains was enough to alter Eise’s style drastically, resulting in the production of a series of extremely colorful, whimsical pieces. Taking influence from Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Eise began creating spontaneous paintings characterized by bold planes of color and use of limited but effective pattern. Eise says, “They’re just so un-academic, so immediate, and so colorful. And I just thought: I want to know what my version of that would be.”
His version is a collection of playful, seemingly carefree paintings that provide a refreshing break from more academically rigorous paintings. These brightly colored pieces usually feature figures that have been simplified to their most basic elements: line and color. These forms are especially striking when placed next to the small sections of intricate pattern included in his compositions. The fluidity of the strong, black lines which contour the soft curves of these figures make them feel much less restricted than most portraiture.
The title of his show, “Unfiltered”, calls attention to the whimsical, unplanned approach to painting Eise has adopted. Eise says, “It wasn’t filtered through academic environments. It was just strictly me doing the painting, and that’s it.”
Eise’s work also includes LGBTQ themes. Eise says, “There is an element of homoeroticism in them. I don’t know that I could make a painting that doesn’t have that.” Eise finds abstraction to be a refreshing way to subtly include these themes in his work. “It was a freedom,” he says. “You could put it in there and no one would know.” The artist has also discussed wanting the make the Gay Community Center into a communal space where other artists could exhibit work, painting what they want without feeling intimidated by how they portray their sexuality.
An opening reception for “Unfiltered” will take place on Friday, September 12, 2014 at the Gay Community Center from 7PM-9PM. The show will be exhibited from Sept. 12- Oct. 17.
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