The Executioner's Face
January 3-27, 2019
Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present The Executioner's Face, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Eric Banks. An opening reception will be held on Friday, January 4 from 7-9 PM at the gallery’s location at 56 Bogart Street in Brooklyn, NY.
The gallery is hosting an artist talk with Eric Banks on Sunday, January 27 from 2-3 PM at 56 Bogart Street in Brooklyn, NY. This talk is the closing event for The Executioner's Face, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Banks.
Topics include creating an art that addresses an essential humanism, the beauty-terror paradox, reaffirmation of the raw and elemental power of materials, and the capacities of color and form to move us emotionally as well as intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually.
In The Executioner's Face, Eric Banks creates a dialogue among paintings that shift between suggestion and becoming to a masking of forms in space. The show's title is a commentary that calls to mind the practice of executioners masking their faces. The metaphor extends to those who by proxy order executions but remain in the shadows, hidden by the authority of their positions.
The paintings continue Banks' concern for a configuration of organic forms suggestive of the human body. They are often placed in environments that suggest landscape or interior spaces, but are meant to conjure an idea of place rather than a specific location. Formally, Banks is influenced by German Expressionists such as Max Beckmann, as well as Philip Guston and Anselm Kiefer. Masked or bound forms appear to be hidden, but are suffused with a sense of possibility, potential, and of multiple interpretations. The conditions of compression and incompleteness lend themselves to an overall sense of claustrophobia, stress and pressure.
For Banks, the paintings reflect the more troubling aspects of the human world, such as systematic slaughters, dispossessions, hopelessness and despair. These are expressed in the work as clustering limbs, disembodied heads and ambiguous body parts. Detachment functions as a dehumanizing anonymity expressed in a faceless, soulless compilation of forms. The paintings resonate with a metaphorical detachment through a rending, wrenching, clutching, and suffocating of the heart/mind/soul.
Eric Banks earned a M.F.A. at Maryland Institute College of Art, Hoffberger School of Painting and a B.A. at Queens College of the City University of New York. Banks is a recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and the Edward Albee Foundation Grant. He has exhibited extensively in New York and beyond since the 1980’s.
Image: Eric Banks, The Executioner's Face, oil on canvas, 54 x 66 inches.