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Go Ahead, Try and Focus On These Canvases

Jeff Elrod’s latest canvases challenge your imagination.

by Mike Steyels
Nov 1 2016, 3:50pm

Images courtesy of the Luhring Augustine Gallery

By erasing any identifiable points of focus, the mind creates ample room to wander as part of the experience of viewing Jeff Elrod’s The Brutal World. The unfocused nature of the canvases make their size seem even larger than they are in actuality. In a room so spacious it would make any New Yorker jealous, the Bushwick outpost of the Luhring Augustine Gallery is replete with glossy concrete floors and the original wood from the warehouse it once was, giving off a historical rootedness within the neighborhood. It evokes a hushed awe, the trepidation that loud noises might dishonor the space. The closer you edge to the works themselves, the more of a transgression the space suggests. Do not touch. Do not disturb.

The art of Elrod is soothing, and it's fun to try and imagine shapes within them, like looking at clouds. You might even expect something to actually appear within them, like they were Magic Eye pieces from the 90s, but there are no hidden images to be found. 

They’re out of focus images placed on canvas with a commercial printer. The ink is UV, but that doesn't affect their appearance when shown under different light. "The UV ink is an ink that doesn’t use a liquid vehicle," Natalia Sacasa, senior director of the gallery, tells The Creators Project. "The ink is in powder form and is cured with UV light." Sacasa finds this use of technology an important piece of Elrod’s work. The fact that he uses software to develop the images that are ultimately transferred to canvas is central. At the accompanying exhibit in Chelsea, Elrod added some painting along with the printwork, but this show featured only prints.

Most of the art is gray, although one piece has a rich vein of ochre running through it. There is one that's made with an electric blue, vibrating with energy. If you survey them up close, there's riotous coloring, with dots of every shade of the rainbow. But at a distance, it all blends into a foggy monochromatic mist.

The Brutal World ran from September 9 – October 23, 2016. Learn more about the artist Jeff Elrod here

Follow Mike Steyels on Twitter: @iswayski

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