Eric Aho’s World: New show at Tayloe Piggott gallery creates a lush landscape through art

By on December 20, 2017

The “Meeting Place,” a solo exhibition for Eric Aho opening reception will be
Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery

Walking into the Tayloe Piggott Gallery should feel like entering Eric Aho’s world. The abstract landscape oil painter’s work is void of people and features lush greenery and dynamic compositions of snow and ice.

“You kind of come in and it’s definitely an experience,” said Sophie Schwabacher with the gallery. “His work is really theatrical.”

This is Aho’s first show at Tayloe Piggott. The gallery will host an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 21 and the show hangs through Feb. 10.

Aho is an abstract landscape painter but his work uses varying degrees of abstract, Schwabacher said. Some paintings might seem a total blur, where the viewer gets the sense of colors and texture of nature, while in others trees or a horizon line might be discernable, she said.

He uses paint and color in a sophisticated way to create gestural paintings.

“He’s really a painter’s painter and that’s something you can only tell if you are in front of the work,” Schwabacher said.

The Vermont-based artist was born in Massachusetts and received a degree in printmaking at the Massachusetts College of Art. He continued his studies at the Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London and has shown his work in the U.S. and internationally.

Aho started as a plein air painter, creating his work outdoors. He still finds inspiration outside, but now works primarily in his studio, Schwabacher said. The name of his show “Meeting Place,” reflects that process. Aho describes painting as being in the woods and the painting at the same time. It’s an interaction between the paint itself and his memory to create the experience, Schwabacher said.

“I think that is kind of beautiful,” Schwabacher said.

It also has meaning for the viewer, who will both experience the painting but also feel transported to the outdoors.

“You are also kind of meeting the painting itself as a viewer,” Schwabacher said.

Most of Aho’s paintings are large, one is 80 x 80. About 20 of his work will hang in the two main spaces of the gallery. They portray the outdoors, primarily scenes from Cuba and the East Coast, in all seasons.

“You get to walk through the different seasons with him as you walk through the gallery,” Schwabacher said.

In addition to Aho’s show, the gallery is also hanging five pieces by Sebastian Blanck. The gallery showed Blanck’s paintings depicting summer during the summer season. The new work is fittingly winter scenes. Blanck, a New York-based artist, uses a distinctive, personal collage technique where he layers painted paper over watercolors onto stretched Japanese paper, according to the gallery press material. Those collage watercolors make up most of his work, but he’s recently started exploring with oils on canvas. He works from photographs and tasks himself to make a painting a day, according to the press release. The structure allows him to work intuitively and quickly and use mistakes as possibilities.

Blanck’s paintings complement Aho’s work, Schwabacher said. Both are depicting seasonal landscapes. Both create work that is quiet and challenges the viewer to enter the painting.

But the two artists also contradict each other, Schwabacher said. Aho’s work is abstract while Blanc’s work is clean and simple and features people to create an intimate narrative, Schwabacher said. Blanck captures not just the landscape, but the personalities of loved ones he renders with vibrant color and playful composition.

“It feels like the artists are living in the same world,” Schwabacher said. “But they really play off different things. PJH

The “Meeting Place,” a solo exhibition for Eric Aho opening reception will be Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Tayloe Piggott Gallery, 62 S. Glenwood St. The show hangs through Feb. 10.

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