Artist Profiles

John Erickson: Exquisite Tension

John Erickson

John Erickson in his studio, photo by Zoe Rodriguez

“It’s almost like a bug in amber,” says John Erickson, describing his new series of multi-layered, multi-media paintings that will be featured at Phillips Gallery this month. That simile is a good place to start this article because it’s typical of Erickson, who uses simile and metaphor frequently to help his University of Utah Students make sense of the creative process. “Johnisms,” they call them.

Think of a bug in amber and you’ll also begin to visualize the shiny smooth surface of the resin-coated painting trapping the many layers of marker drawing, latex paint, collage, and oil paint that seem to occupy infinite space and incorporate mutliple centuries, from Renaissance realism to post-modern abstraction. Such is the complexity, contradiction, and excitement of Erickson’s new “big head” paintings.

Read our Artist Profile in the September 2011 edition of 15 Bytes.

Categories: Artist Profiles

2 replies »

  1. Sue,
    You did a first rate job in presenting this difficult and rather enigmatic artist. I was able to learn something of his life but more “about” him through his painting methodology which is confounding yet made lucidly clear in the piece. Erickson the man seems to comes alive through Erickson the painter and this is the strength of this article which I enjoyed thoroughly as a richly “sensual” experience.
    Thank you Sue,
    Beautifully handled.

  2. I have never seen an artist more in tune with his craft than I have seen in John Erickson’s latest work. the paintings are him, he is the painting(s). The only other artist who comes to mind with this sinchronicity of life mirroring art is Van Gogh; unfortunately i didnt know him personally like I am blessed to know John. John was my teacher at the ‘U’and I’ve never quite gotten over it… in a very humbling sort of way.

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