New York

Eric Staller

O.K. Harris Works of Art

Eric Staller’s show of slide projections in the back room at O.K. Harris raises the question dogging Realist painting of the urban environment: why not photography? 

In one work. Staller chooses to photograph the angle where building meets sidewalk throughout Manhattan, projecting his images onto right-angled screens along the floor. The slide program is a kind of diary of a pedestrian’s sidelong glances, in which a painterly eye distills textural and coloristic pleasure from this urban junction. 

Staller’s slides projected onto canvaslike white screens quote a Realist methodology borrowed from billboard painting. They could be read, then, as “studies”; as such his slide programs present more visual information than could a single painting of the same subject. In declining to present a painting as a sign for a complex of visual experiences, Staller’s program verges on a journalistic homage to New York cityscape. 

Artists like Staller who mediate between painting and photography have substituted taking for making, almost advancing their art into pure choice. In this they work from atop the horns of the dilemma, hamstrung by a double set of conventions derived from the history of both painting and photography. 

Alan Moore