Opening Reception: Elliott Green – Human Nature


Feb. 19, 2017, 06:00 pm

155 Suffolk St
Phone (646) 429-9073

Pierogi is delighted to present a one-person exhibition of recent paintings by Elliott Green. A decade ago, Green believed that his “home was in his head, and the ideas and images it produced would be carried independently wherever I went, but [a] change of place …transformed my work and myself.” These new paintings are the outcome of this shift and they merge abstraction, emotion, and riffs on landscape, resulting in highly charged, crystalized moments. Jana Prikryl notes, “Elliott Green’s paintings appear to be in continuous motion, the way animals, plants, and ultimately rocks and mountains are in continuous motion, even when our human vision fails to apprehend it. Placing great thick gestures of paint amid minute intricacies and vice versa, his compositions demonstrate the movement of the universe on both the macro and the micro scales.”

In paintings titled “Sky Slip,” “Fire Drip,” “The Photon Skirt,” “Mineral Ancestors,” and others, a swirl of paint becomes a swath of sky, a jagged line becomes a mountain or ridge and then, just as swiftly, a schism occurs and a smear or angle reveals itself to be entirely abstract, pulling us out of the impulse to pareidolia, to see something representational in a stroke of paint. David Ebony writes of “Mammatus,” “[r]ather than depicting any real mountains…Green’s rocky vista seems emblematic of anything insurmountable or unapproachable.” Inserting elements “…like a single bravura brushstroke, is a purely abstract device that breaks the illusion of the infinite landscape, reminding the viewer that this, after all, is just paint-on-canvas.” “…[P]erpetrating such acts of narrative on Green’s canvases must fill the viewer with ambivalence: you’re teased into seeing things that aren’t really present. It’s almost as if this systole-diastole between interpretation and unprejudiced seeing were the aim of each painting.” (Jana Prikryl)

The painting title “Beach Mountain” references geological discoveries along these lines of displacement and disruption, where shells and fossils of sea creatures found on mountain tops first led to the questioning of religious concepts of time versus geological realities.

Through their rapid sequencing, layering, and strata-like formation, Green’s paintings also reveal the passage of time and their own kind of evolution. “[A] painting like Green’s Expander—which seems to me a bold series of formal departures, suggesting the unceasing incursions of time’s fourth dimension into what we know as the first three and thereby straining an identity’s need for coherence, while refusing such readings in just the polyvalent way that, say, Emily Dickinson’s “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun – ” resists paraphrase—a painting like Expander operates like an expander on the mind, inserting thoughts (see my foregoing m-dashes) while earlier thoughts are still forming.” (Jana Prikryl)

This exhibition will include a group of recent paintings ranging in size from 18 x 24 inches to 6 ½ x 11 ½ feet and will be accompanied by a catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition.

Elliott Green was born in Detroit, Michigan. He moved to New York City as a young man and lived there for twenty-four years. In 2005 he moved to Athens, New York, a small town situated between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. He has received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, the Rome Prize (2011), and an Academy of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize, along with numerous residency grants.

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