November 15th – December 23rd, 2018
OPENING: Thursday, November 15th from 6-9pm
The Hole is presenting the third solo exhibition with Southern California-based artist Eric Yahnker. From his home in Desert Hot Springs, CA Yahnker has elaborated in pastel drawings across large swaths of sandpaper a vision of America today and a culture in need of a “factory reset”, erasing all content and settings, wiping the memory, rebooting the corrupted system.
The celebrity, vanity and vacuousness of Warhol’s aluminum foiled-“Factory” is seamlessly updated to integrate with celebrity-influencer social media selfie culture. Were Warhol Superstars an analog version of the digitally-assisted disaster of now? The pieces in the show look at both how we got here and urgently ask how do we get the hell out of here.
Pastel on sandpaper is one of the most painterly techniques I’ve seen in drawing; the slight tooth of the paper grabbing little fistfuls of colored dust off the pastels, leading to blendable and saturated brights. For an artist who spent a decade working his fingers to the bone with a million thin colored pencil and graphite marks, he is now scraping them off blending on sandpaper. He can work quicker and more loosely and doesn’t have to layer fine lines over each other, he can smear in some shadow and splash on the highlights, leave a sketchy edge or smooth subtle gradients.
As has always been the case for Yahnker, the subject matter he chooses is uncomfortable. Even what looks like a purely uplifting and positive image can have layers of problematizing that can sit funny even when you’re not sure why. A lot of visual signifiers go into each of these careful image puzzles, and every decision matters. The audio guide for the show will let the artist, in his own words, describe some of the layers of thinking to take you down the rabbit hole of each piece should you so choose.
Gallery 3 will be dedicated to one single piece, a series of 29 works that in order comprise sequential frames of an animation. “Orange Privilege” is a hybrid drawing and video piece where each frame of a clip was executed in pastel, from the blurry odd frames to the sharper focus I-frames, retaining some digital video artifacts and crunchy bits of erratic color. The scene it captures is only 3 seconds long but deeply disturbing; Donald Trump bear-hugs the American flag with an insipid grin on his face above a throng of reporters with iPhones looking on.
In the artist’s words: “Factory Reset is comprised of fifteen new pastel drawings and one large, room-filling sequential animation that all try to metaphorically encapsulate the state of our union; its hopes, fears, desires and mind-bending surreality come to life. All this is as seen through the cracked lens of a 40-something, Jewish, West Coast progressive artist and political satirist, who not only deems himself a red, white, and blue-blooded patriot, but is also a newly-minted father to a badass little girl that I’ll have to one day tell the story of Trump to (without vomiting).”