Magazine article Artforum International

Andrew Ehrenworth

Magazine article Artforum International

Andrew Ehrenworth

Article excerpt

JAMES GRAHAM & SONS

Continuing a trajectory from his earlier portraits of dogs whose faces appeared to be melting, Andrew Ehrenworth's eleven new paintings are based on standard-issue photographs of grade-school children, although these faces are more Came than Marcia Brady. Enlarging what might have been wallet-size images to five-by-five or two-by-two-foot canvases, Ehrenworth intends to convey a generalized idea of childhood: Benjamin, Mary, Kate, Bill, Andrea, and Beth evoke kids he knew growing up in a New Jersey suburb. But the canvases look as if they've been rained on: Paint is applied in a very fluid state and allowed to run down the compositions vertically, with drips accumulating along the bottom edges. As the unnaturally bright, harsh colors trickle down, hair and clothing dissolve into abstractions, features become grotesquely misshapen and smeared.

The humor evident in Ehrenworth's images of canines is absent in the new work. Beneath her pixie haircut, paint streaks down Andrea's face so heavily that despite her shy smile, her countenance is diffused nearly to the verge of disappearance. Bill's left eye is cartoonishly enlarged, while Kate cries a magenta tear as white and flesh-colored pigment wash over her chin. Many of the portraits' disconcerting particulars emerge out of the physical properties of paint and its response to gravity. Connecting the outcome of his - and the paint's - labors to chance effects provides Ehrenworth a comfortable distance from the often grotesque results, but this quasi-slacker, self-effacing stance doesn't diminish his considerable skill as a painter. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.