FSU Art MFA ’17 Michelle Eccles opened her shared exhibition, “It Really Is Dreamy, Isn’t It?” with Ehren Fritz Gerhard at 621 Gallery on November’s First Friday. The exhibition will run until the 24th of November.
Artist Statement from Ehren Fritz Gerhard: “My imagery depicts an intense encounter with time and place. It’s the feeling I get while crunching through leaves and branches listening to the air whistle through my nostrils. I can step on a snake, stumble upon a wild boar or end up with a spider web all over my face.
Working somewhere in-between scientific observation and romantic idealism, my goal is to create a living image that breathes and moves. I make large and small-scale canvases inspired by the visual energy of artists such as Charles Burchfield and Emily Carr. Each successive layer of paint is imbued with the joy of discovery, fear of the unknown, and tension between life and death.”
Artist Statement from Michelle Eccles: “I paint figures that inhabit enigmatic spaces that are the product of intermingling cultures and hyperreality. My characters include friends and loved ones, but more notably, the intriguing and complicated personalities I met during the nine years I lived in Japan. I project my feelings of envy and admiration on these characters and live vicariously through them.
My paintings include a complex combination of social media images, pop culture references, Japanese aesthetics, and Western painting. My canvases become liminal
spaces that allow me the opportunity to further explore and critique my experiences here and abroad while enabling the renegotiation of my fluctuating identity. My work reflects
what it is to be a citizen of the world: the condition of residing in a place that simultaneously is and is not one’s home.”
Bios: Ehren Fritz Gerhard completed his Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University in 2013. He is currently employed as Adjunct Professor of Art at Florida Gulf Coast University, Art Exhibitions Director for the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs and Director of the Bonita Springs National Art Festivals. He lives in Cape Coral, FL with his wife, dog, and cat where he maintains an active studio when he is not working in his garden or going on primitive camping and fishing trips.
Michelle Eccles is a Tallahassee native whose interests in travel and culture have led her to various corners of the world. Most recently she lived and worked in Japan prior to
receiving her Masters of Fine Arts at Florida State University. She teaches painting and drawing courses for the FSU Department of Art and is the recipient of the Florence Teaching Fellowship. She currently lives in Havana, Florida with her big sweet dog, but will relocate to Italy in the spring where she will teach at the Florida State University International Programs campus in Florence.