Matteawan Gallery is pleased to present Scott Daniel Ellison: Skull-Ring Necklace, a solo exhibition of recent paintings and drawings. This is Ellison’s second solo show at the gallery and his work was included in the group exhibition Myths and Legends of the Hudson Valley in November 2015.
Scott Daniel Ellison’s work is influenced by his eclectic interest in folktales, mythical creatures, horror movies, early goth/punk imagery and music, native American and Scandinavian folk art, as well as photographers such as Diane Arbus and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. He is also interested in wildlife and the mysteries of the natural world as a result of growing up in the Hudson Valley and spending time outdoors as a child. Ellison’s work inhabits a place that is alien yet familiar at the same time, like an alternative reality populated with monsters, animals, and other creatures that exist just outside our perception.
Ellison’s recent paintings are filled with dark humor and nods to the culture of his youth. In Skater, a skeleton skater with a spiky Mohawk rides a half-pipe with a toothy grin. As in much of Ellison’s work, the painting has just the right combination of abstraction and narrative, with the minimal black background and white line drawing of a half pipe combined with fun details like the skater’s Black Flag t-shirt and spiky bracelets. Another work in the show, Vulture, features a red vulture head in profile with a black torso that almost looks human. Around the bird’s neck is a human skull necklace. The vulture in the painting takes on a mythical status, like a deity in an Egyptian temple. This juxtaposition of animal and human forms and creepy yet darkly humorous imagery runs throughout the show. Ellison’s paintings contain strange narratives that cause the viewer to pause and think, and perhaps let out a nervous laugh. The monsters from our childhood live on in his work, yet they are often smiling as if to say everything will be alright - or at least we hope so.
Scott Daniel Ellison has exhibited nationally and in Stockholm, Sweden. Ellison shows regularly with ClampArt in New York and had a solo exhibition at Matteawan Gallery in 2014. He has also exhibited at Conduit Gallery, Dallas, TX; University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor, ME; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; Monya Rowe Gallery, NY, NY; Galleria Traghetto, Venice, Italy; and Carl Berg Projects, West Hollywood, CA. In 2012, Ellison was awarded a Fellowship in Painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His first monograph Iowa,Ohio, was published by Schilt Books in 2014, and a second book, Witch Hazel, was published in 2016 by ClampArt. Ellison received a BFA and an MFA from SUNY Purchase, Purchase, NY.
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New York, NY – The presentation of Robert Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square3 (1998–99) at Dia:Beacon will mark the return of the work to public view, approximately fifteen years after its premiere at Dia Center for the Arts in New York City. Beginning on June 1, 2015, audiences will be able to experience Irwin’s “site-conditioned” installation in the museum whose master plan he created. The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 was developed specifically for Dia:Beacon and will be accompanied by a symposium and a publication.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 is one of the most important displays of Irwin’s environmental installations that—through the manipulation of existing architecture—explore physical, sensory, and temporary states,” commented Jessica Morgan, Director, Dia Art Foundation. “It is a great privilege to install this work at Dia:Beacon and return it to public view, highlighting for audiences the unique interconnections between Irwin’s artistic and architectural practices.”
The work began as a site-specific installation titled Prologue: x183 that occupied an entire floor of Dia Center for the Arts, Dia’s former exhibition space in New York City, during the spring of 1998. The piece featured white fluorescent lights that were installed within eighteen cubic chambers and defined by floor-to-ceiling scrims; the windows were covered with custom-fabricated blue-and-gray theatrical gels, providing visitors with a maze-like environment of subtly changing shadows to explore. Months into the installation, Irwin took the opportunity to further incorporate color into the piece by wrapping each set of fluorescent lights in complex combinations of vividly colored gels. This new work was retitled Excursus: Homage to the Square3 and, as its subtitle suggests, the work exemplifies the influence of painting on his practice by invoking the geometric affinities and color relationships adapted from the renowned series by Josef Albers (1888–1976).
The new installation of Excursus: Homage to the Square3 at Dia:Beacon will represent a singular manifestation of Irwin as an artist. Moving from his interior gallery layouts and flow patterns to the architectural interventions evident throughout the building to the landscaped gardens and forecourt that he designed, audiences will have the opportunity to experience an environment in which Irwin has touched virtually every facet.
“Excursus: Homage to the Square3 invites audiences to explore the work of art. What is so unique is that there is no beginning, middle, or end. Audiences can enter the work from a variety of entry points,” said Yasmil Raymond, Curator, Dia Art Foundation. “It has been such an honor to work closely with Irwin, a pioneer of the L.A.-based Light and Space movement of the 1960s, to reconceive this project for Dia:Beacon and create a long-term plan that will allow Dia to share this work with future generations.”
Maintaining Dia’s philosophy of displaying single-artist presentations for extended periods of time, Excursus: Homage to the Square3 be on view at Dia:Beacon for two years.
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