M+B is pleased to present Jungle Egg, an exhibition of new works by Eliot Greenwald. This is the artist's first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition opens January 29, 2022 and will run through February 26, 2022 at M+B Doheny (470 N Doheny Drive), with an opening reception on Saturday, January 29 from 6 to 9pm.
Welcome to the jungle. Eliot Greenwald’s paintings evoke the contours of a human mind lost in the thicket of the natural world. His canvases explore consciousness in the same way that a bat uses echolocation, casting ambient waves out into the unknown, mapping the ever-evolving terrain of individual experience. They trace the sinewy distances between subjective reality and the natural world, studying the various stories we construct to make sense of our particular location in time and space. Car head beams pierce exotic terrains, wheels tunnel down surrealist valleys, the clamoring noises of human exploration reverberating against dense foliage. Greenwald contemplates an existential crossroads: do we make reality conform to our subjective understanding of it, or do we submit to the reality of the natural world? Do we embrace forward motion and discovery, or try to become one with our environment? In Jungle Egg, Greenwald does not attempt to moralize either decision. Rather, he meditates in the possibilities proposed by each, examining how these two attitudes cohabitate with one another, how they spin out thick webs of contradiction.
Greenwald is fascinated with mythology: how do we apply some sort of coherence to our imperfect experiences of reality? He approaches mythmaking with a prankster’s flair, employing humor as a tool for disarming the anxieties of life’s contradictions, rendering the absurd as something enjoyable, something worth contemplation. Greenwald constructs a type of repetitive continuity between works, single motifs or images reappearing over and over again. This use of repetition, for Greenwald, mirrors the slow evolution of one’s cognitive understanding of reality. You don’t see one tree, for instance, and suddenly possess a perfect idea of what all trees are. Rather, you see many trees of many shapes and many colors and many sizes, and from this slow accretion of trees, come to develop a personal relationship to trees as a whole. To this end, Greenwald’s imagery is often surreal, perhaps even Dada-esque, in its proportion, shape, and color. He is not interested in realistic representation. The images he puts to his canvases are the product of his own mind, reflections of his particular subjective understanding of what certain objects can, or should, look like.
In Jungle Egg, Greenwald’s car scenes take place amidst exotic, lush fauna. Neon lights emit from each metal façade, shifting in complexion from dull to bright like a human gaze gaining clarity. The car becomes a stand-in of sorts for the viewer themselves, a non-theological spirit which evokes the interior of the mind. Each car is bracketed on either side by curious, almost alien-esque trees and shrubs. This vegetation summons an uncanny type of humidity which envelopes the vehicles. Rather than attempt to reproduce the divine perfection of the natural world itself, Greenwald constructs playfully skewed environments, defined less by their anatomical specificity and more so by the sense of perpetual motion implied in their shifting, surreal structures. These jungles create the grounds for an existential cruise, each car casually strolling towards an uncertain landscape just beyond the edge of the canvas. With Jungle Egg, Greenwald marries his curiosity for human consciousness with the evolutionary grandeur of nature itself. In this sense, he puts a fine point on the question of human existence: what are we to do with the evolutionary gift of subjective reality? Will we cruise on by, tires racing towards the freedom of an unknown future? Or will we let off the gas and take some time to smell the roses?
Eliot Greenwald (b. 1983) is a contemporary American artist who was born and raised in Portland, Maine and now lives and works in Ashfield, MA. Eliot is a self-taught artist who has shown throughout the United States as well as globally. Eliot is represented by Harper’s in New York City. Recently, Eliot has had solo exhibitions with Harper’s (NYC), Taymour Grahne Projects (London), and Hesse Flatow (NYC). He was included in Reflections: Human/Nature at Gana Contemporary in Seoul, South Korea and was shown at Art Central HK as part of the art fair’s curatorial selections. Upcoming shows include solos with Best Western/Marvin Gardens and Harper’s in New York. Eliot has been published in Art Maze Magazine, Let’s Panic, and featured on Juxtapoz, It’s Nice That, and Art News. Jungle Egg is his first show with M+B. @bbest_ffriend
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