Tuesday, 24 July 2012

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little reviews Eric Niebuhr

Eric Niebuhr, Hudson, 2009
Eric Niebuhr
The Devotionals
Damien Minton Gallery: July 17- August 4, 2012

The Devotionals is Eric Niebuhr’s second Australian show, and his first at Damien Minton Gallery. In the six months since his first show at MOP Projects, Niebuhr has been busy. The Devotionals consists of twenty three new paintings ranging from small gouaches on paper to large oil and acrylic on canvas.

Niebuhr has continued to work in a primarily abstract style with the application of glossy pooling paint on matt backgrounds. However, the figurative elements in several works are less ambiguous and easier to identify. This suite of paintings draws on objects of devotion, such as the Shroud of Turin, and images relating to death and disaster.  Niebuhr also pays tribute to artists that have inspired him including Cy Twombly, Mike Kelley, Georgio Morandi and Milton Avery.

Eric Niebuhr, Paddle Out (After Morandi) 2012

Eric Niebuhr
 A selection of small gouache on paper images provides some insight into the artist’s process. Images are abstracted and reduced to their compositional elements of shape, colour and texture, and then recreated in larger canvases. Funeral Fireworks (after Twombly) shows more subtle developments in Niebuhr’s style with the matt background showing subtle tonal shifts in colour, and the deliberate leaving of small areas of the canvas unpainted.

A series of paintings repeats a motif that includes irregular shapes against a blue background, which then resolve themselves into figures sitting in a circle in Paddle Out (After Morandi), Paddle Out and Paddle Out (After Morandi) 2012.
Eric Niebuhr, Paddle Out, 2012
 In Hudson 2009 an aeroplane dissolves into the blue background of what is possibly the eponymous river or a sky filled with clouds.  Funeral Fireworks (after Twombly) and Funeral Fireworks (after Twombly)II are full of flickering tactile colour.

Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

Read Elizabeth's first review of Eric Niebuhr's work here.

All images supplied by the writer.

Eric Niebuhr, Funeral Fireworks (After Twombly) (detail)2012
Eric Niebuhr, Funeral Fireworks (After Twombly) 2012
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