Eric Louie on His Latest Series "Emergence"

Upon walking into Eric Louie’s studio, one is greeted with the sight of a clean and minimal space, without the images or drawings taped to the walls or colour studies strewn across the floor typically associated with a creative space. All around are paintings neatly propped on milk crates, hung on walls, and tightly fitted into the space between windows, in various stages of completion.

Louie, who recently completed work on his solo exhibition at Bau-Xi Toronto, has already embarked on a new phase of experimentation — intent on striking a radical balance between contrasting palettes and disparate bodies of technique. From this area of inquiry has emerged coupled forms that subtly hint at mirrored figures, horizons, and hourglass shapes evocative of optical illusions, rendered in unorthodox colour pairings with matte and pearlescent pigments.

Striped with burnished highlights and interspersed with sultry jewel-toned colours, Louie’s new paintings beg the question of the artist’s approach. Guided by the belief that art is about discovery and exploring the unknown, Louie’s process begins with a quick iPad sketch to visualize marks and colours on a canvas, leaving lots of room for the paintings to dictate their own direction as he works on them. Using technology as a medium, Louie bridges the digital realm and oil painting tradition, softening its effects with the sensitive tactility of his hand.

Meditative and oddly satisfying, with a distinct sense of movement, each of Louie’s painting is like a game of Tetris. A self-proclaimed maximalist striving to be a minimalist, Louie uses negative space to carve his forms away from the edges of the canvas to create a sense of openness in his compositions.  “My paintings sometimes get away from me. The challenge is to reel them back in.”  The results are paintings as explosive as they are restrained, marked by dynamic, twisting forms that unveil imagined portals into the precious unknown. 

Eric’s show opens at Bau-Xi Toronto on January 11th, 2020.


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