“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.