Erik Spehn’s most recent work in bandwidths prioritizes the use of varying applications of line as their primary visual stimulus. From a distance, this work presents viewers with an active composition of alternating bands of bold, hard-edged lines of vibrant color. Upon closer inspection however, these lines reveal themselves as gently undulating waves of horizontal brushstrokes flowing across the entirety of the surface. These thoughtful strokes of meticulously mixed pigments add a mesmerizing, inviting quality and elevated sophistication to each piece.
Through the juxtaposition of rigid, vertical edges alongside the gentle undulation of handmade horizontal gestures, Spehn welcomes viewers to enter a contemplative space to pursue a prolonged, deliberate meditation at the interface of these dualities. Ultimately, through a dynamic interplay and engagement at the boundaries of contrasting elements, opposites equilibrate in a choreographed stillness of activity.
Spehn says of the work, “The current body of work in this exhibition seeks not only to examine the tensions between these dichotomous pairs (space and form, expansion and contraction, fluidity and solidity, light and shadow), but also to explore their affinities. The compositions are directed in such a way that a kind of tempered union of contrary elements results, in which opposition gives way to likeness, and an ontological ambiguity within the original figure/ground dynamic becomes established.”
Erik Spehn received his BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor, MI. He has exhibited at museums and institutions including: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Saarländisches Künstlerhaus, Saarbrücken, Germany; Centre d'art Contemporain, Metz, France; and more. His work is in numerous public and private collections including: Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedelia, MO; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; among others.
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