Eric Ridge

STATEMENT ON PAINTING

Being human is living a strange kind of existence and to help sort it out, I choose to participate in the practice of art. I define art as the expression of all personal life experience and a purposeful voice for one's time and culture. For myself, this includes digesting that information and projecting a sorted narrative that helps make sense of it all.

The circumstance I find myself in is one of duality. By this I mean we are always living or observing the beautiful and the tragic. It feels like a juggling act to find the balance in order not to go to far into naivety or too far into darkness.  We are also existing in a constant state of flux as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us. I catch myself always a bit confused, anxious or scared, always filled with a kind of shapeshifting sense of dread. However, Im hopeful, curious and adventurous. I want to see the good in people. I’m always surprised by nature's beauty.

I find it necessary to ask questions and inspire a dialogue relating to who we are and what defines our impact on each other and our surrounding planet. I tend to focus on some of the darker aspects of life--the things that cause the most complexity or problematic behavior. While I am conceptually and intellectually inclined--my work explores emotion and intuition as much as anything.

As a practicing artist, I've fallen prey to painting--it's infinite challenge seduces me. Painting is a way to bring precedence and singularity to an image through the ritual of texture, color and mark making,. It is the handmade property of the medium that best reveals forethought and deliberation.

Part of my process involves the creation of narrative or allegorical scenes that embrace the complexity of humanity and its reach. These works are based in a surrogate realism; this means the source material is broken down and elements are changed based on concept and design. The setting for the work compliments or sets up a duality between the events of the foreground and the space of the background.

When painting a model my focus is more narrow and defined,it is important to capture the essence of their likeness in order to bring authenticity to the subject matter. Im wanting a record of someone real, living in today’s world. Often models will play a role and portray a feeling or state of mind that they are familiar with much like an actor/actress. This gives room for a collaborative effort. Sometimes the models are interacting with various objects which are usually familiar commodities or appliances used poetically as symbols and extensions of the body.

The research for my work comes from a multitude of places, experiences and interest. I regularly keep an ongoing library of images scenarios and incomplete narratives. Then typically I will piece some of these ideas together into a “complete narrative”.

As far as techniques are concerned, I have adopted various painting influences from Baroque to twentieth century realism. Although I generally paint from a combination of photographic source and life painting, I do not project or graph. I work with the concern for under painting, alla prima, color, descriptive painterly application and over-glazing. These five concerns of painting are routinely conceptualized through composition and theme.

© 2018 Eric Ridge