Being: two metaphors
Shatto Gallery, Koreatown
through December 20
Written by Shana Nys Dambrot
In this self-assigned pairing of two painters with idiomatically divergent styles, the works themselves are not collaborative, but the concept and expressivity of the exhibition is choreographed and executed as an intentional conversation. Between David Eddington’s art historical citations across densely detailed, surrealistic scenarios and Da Aie Park’s reductive, saturated, process-oriented color fields there may seem to be a chasm, but in their engaging discourse one finds instead bridges that highlight the most significant, telling aspects, each one of the other.
Park’s abstract squares radiate pure luminous color, containing an organic smattering of varied textures and fractal forms in their surfaces. Generated with a labor-intensive but also meditative and expressive pigmentation process of layering, removing, layering, removing, and so on, the closer one approaches the works, the more such details, half-buried color schemes, and phenomenological traces assert themselves. At their edges each work settles into its striations like a ringed aura. In oceanic blues, pooling chartreuse, dusty fuchsia, oxblood, violet, teal, mango, sunflower and saffron, the works are both separate from and bear the indelible impressions of the artist’s hand.
Eddington is a fundamentally figurative painter, though his constructed scenarios and fluctuating pictorial spaces flow in and out of abstraction frequently, without warning, in moments large and small that disrupt but ultimately support the logic of his pictures. An undulating wide blue curve made of a single, serpentine stroke resolves as a river, a frenzied constellation of marks embodies a blossoming tree, a bleary pink dollop manifests a flower, a glowing passage of heavy, mottled color reads as a tunic, a mesa, the embers of a campfire; the earth itself can be rendered out of anything. More often, the backgrounds and roughly indicated landscapes are built of self-consciously gestural abstract brushwork, and then at times, straightforwardly abstract shapes and patterns supplant even the suggestion of terra firma.
The first, most apparent relational aesthetic between Park’s and Eddington’s works happens in the language of color. Depending on your point of view, Park either took key color points from Eddington’s art historical adaptations and distilled them into her optical deep dives, or Park’s color intensives sparked the hot and cold, queasy, eccentric tertiary palettes that animate Eddington’s painted world-building. The truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle.
Eddington’s work is also rich with symbols, figures, landscape elements, animals and botanicals — all of which elicit a reading closely interested in the action. Has this angel fallen, who are these lovers, what does a wild white horse mean when you see it in a dream, where exactly is the line between nature and machine, why is society so damn stodgy? The increasingly frequent integration of abstraction into the tableaux turns up the poetic volume, while calling attention to the volatile energies of his studio practice, his wrestling matches with technique, and the expanding passages of malleable perception where the viewer takes up the emotional mantle for themselves.
The proximity of Park’s work forces a quality of attention to Eddington’s style that is not primarily about the information, the metaphor, the citation, analogy, or narrative of his scenes but rather insists on the extended contemplation of his work as an abstractionist, and most especially as a colorist. The context of Eddington’s works in turn forces a closer examination of the proliferation of evanescent detail within Park’s beguiling image/objects and thus deepens the experience of them beyond their obvious beauty.
3130 Wilshire Blvd #104, Los Angeles, 90010