Eric Dever



painting in a house made of air



Berry Campbell Gallery, New York

January 10th - February 9th, 2019



For more than a decade, I worked with a square canvas and limited palette, white for four years, then white and black for two years, followed by white, black, and red. I uncovered a remarkable variety, both in hue and composition, most notable when the work was installed together, while each painting held its own.


The shift began when I let go of the square and moved to a rectangular format, there was no longer a central area of interest, but multiple areas of concentration. More remarkably, I rediscovered color—not just one at a time, but the entire spectrum, color as a painting program, the color spectrum as abstraction, the universe reflected in nature. 


Nature is the beauty of Brahman.—Sri Swami Tapovan Maharai Chimmaya

 

This new palette began 2 years ago while I was planting a garden, coupled with an awareness of the Indian and yogic notion of the chakras, 7 energetic centers in the human body where matter and consciousness meet, which also parallel the visible spectrum. I found myself taking cues from flowers as they blossomed, their color entered my paintings. At the height of the summer I had used all of it, mostly mixing tints, Titanium White with Napthol Scarlet, Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Orange, Hansa Yellow, Phthalo Green, Phthalo Blue and Dioxaine Purple. The apprehension of color stuck with me, and by the following summer I began mixing new hues.


Painting for me, when it really ‘happens,’ is as miraculous as any natural phenomenon.—Lee Krasner


My painting approach also involves exchanging shapes between canvases, often through a monoprint process of painting onto a surface and transferring it to canvas, techniques to intricacy which recall the invention of Jean Dubuffet and decalcomania of Max Ernst, forms of automatism, methods of mining the unconscious popularized by the Surrealists, which breathe life into the workForms are mirrored top to bottom within a single painting, August 5th-North Fork; or between similarly dimensioned supports, as in the Prickly Pear Cactus Suite: October 3rd, October 9th, November 14th, December 14th and April 27th.


These (Dever’s) repetitions of forms and other planned elements, together with the more gestural painting of the rest of the canvas, creates a charged tension between spontaneity and organization, one of the ways de Kooning 

worked.3 —Jennifer Landes


Unpainted canvas, or ground as shape, contribute to an atmospheric openness in the paintings—spreading and breathing. Some sections or shapes of unpainted canvas are formally revealed as negative space, and more personally, a portal or meditation on absence, as in March 16th-Cala Lily, May 25th-The Jade Buddha, July 16th-Narrow River and July 16th-Lavender Pilgrimage.


The use of dates as titles includes a progression from the solar calendar to events, reminiscence and homage, journal like entries associated with memory and location, including the Hindu festival, February 13th-Maha Shivratri.


Art is healing, condensed information.4—Holland Cotter


This exhibition is dedicated to Joe Pintauro, the exhibit title, Painting in a House Made of Air, is inspired by his play, A House Made of Air, an homage to Pablo Neruda and Sonnet XCIV.





Eric Dever (born, Los Angeles, 1962) moved to New York in 1986 to study painting and critical theory at NYU/Steinhardt (MA’88-studio art). His work since the early 1990’s has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. Dever is represented by Berry Campbell Gallery, New York.


Dever’s paintings are currently on view in the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau, Art in Embassies, Department of State exhibition (2016-19), and were featured in a lecture by Gail Levin, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, American Art and India: Cultural Exchange Among Artists of India and the United States, at the Pollock Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York (2016). His  work was included in the permanent collection exhibition, Parrish Perspectives: Art in Context, curated by Alicia G. Longwell at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York (2017); recent one-artist exhibitions include Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (2017); New York University, Kimmel Galleries, New York (2015-16); Molloy College, Rockville Centre, New York and Berry Campbell Gallery, New York (2014, 2019).


In 2012 at the invitation of artist Robert Dash, Dever inaugurated the first painting classes, which were critiqued by Dash, at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, New York. Dever continues to actively present innovative classes and workshops at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, where he has also spoken on the Parrish permanent collection, recent exhibitions including Parrish PerspectivesJames Brooks, and Dever’s own oeuvre in Pecha Kucha-Volume 19, video taped before a live audience.


Dever’s paintings have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in many venues, including 80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York University, New York; ARCO Plaza, Los Angeles, California; Arizona State University, Phoenix;  Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; Art in General, New York; Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York; The Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, Texas; Centre d’Art et Rencontres, Saint Just en Bellengard, France; Eastern New Mexico University, Portales; Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; Heckscher Museum of Art, New York; Hudson River Museum, Hastings on the Hudson, New York; Islip Art Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Marymount University, San Pedro, California; Ohio State University, Marion; The Painting Center, New York; Paris CONCRET, France; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, Sag Harbor, New York; Spaces, Cleveland, Ohio; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


His work is part of notable public collections including Centre d'Art et de Culture, Château d’Escueillens, Saint Just en Bellengard, France; Division Street Editions and the Reutershan Educational Trust, Sag Harbor, New York; The Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York; Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection; Guild Hall Musuem, East Hampton, New York; New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, FishBridge Park; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; and numerous corporate and private collections including the Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia; Mark Hampton; Sub Zero Freezer Company, Madison, Wisconsin; and Lady Juliet and Somerset de Chair.


Dever’s paintings have have been published and addressed in Architectural Digest, Blink, The East Hampton Star, 

Harvard Business Review, Long Island Pulse, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, St. Martins’s Press, Surface Magazine, and The World of Interiors.




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”NATURE (Prakriti) is nothing but Brahman. Nature is not an entity separate from Brahman. The beauty of Nature is the beauty of Brahman. However, the glory of Brahman is reflected far more brilliantly in the uncontaminated un-artificial state of Nature. Whether in contaminated of in uncontaminated condition, he who can perceive the whole of Nature as the very form of Brahman, and the play of Nature as the play of Brahman, is the best amongst the knowers of Truth. He perceives Brahman at all times, everywhere. He enjoys spritual bliss at all times. Even the highest unconditioned state of Samadhi attained by the Yogis is of no use for him, he has already got himself established in the state of Samadhi. He, and all his actions are of the form of Samadhi only.” 

In Hinduism, Brahman represents the ultimate reality underlying all phenomena. 

Sri Swami Tapovan Maharai Chimmaya, ‘Wanderings in the Himalaya’s,’ Glory of the Mother. National Chinmaya Mission Trust, Bombay, 1991, pxii


2Gail Levin. Lee Krasner: A Biography. Harper Collins, New York, 2011, p28


3Jennifer Landes. (2017, April 6). Eric Dever: A Year of Discovery, The East Hampton Star.

Retrieved from http://www.mobileeasthamptonstar.com


4“An Evening with Holland Cotter and Lynn Neary,” Fordham Center on Religion and Culture, Fordham University, New York, March 9, 2017.




“Dever’s work is original, high pitched and powerful.”

—Joe Pintauro, playwright, novelist, poet and photographer


Eric Dever’s meticulous abstract paintings are deeply informed by a discursive range of disciplines, including art history, philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. He deftly combines an orderly commitment to the ineffable materiality of paint with an expansive and sincere curiosity for the manifold dimensions of our gracefully complex existence. These two creative and intellectual imperatives work in productive concert with one another on his captivating canvases.

—Cynthia Hooper, Artist and Professor of Art at College of the Redwoods


Works by Eric Dever ask the viewer to ponder the phenomenon of change, an observation on the impermanence and mutability of life…Dever skillfully manipulates the processes of repetition and cropping to enforce this notion of the transitory as do his reworked surfaces. 

—Philip Verre, COO, High Museum of Art


Elemental and exacting, Dever’s paintings make you feel like he invented color.

—Janet Goleas, Blinnk, East Hampton, New York


Dever is a must-see…His rose breaking thru metallic black fills you with energy.

—Gail Sheehy, author, journalist and lecturer