Saturday, September 19, 2009

FEED : A dinner with Eric LoPresti

Last night's dinner was intimate. Guests fresh from the cool autumn evening arrived to a table set for ten, catered by our fellow Williamsburger, Nita Nita, a bar and tapas restaurant.

While interns Ross and Spenser plated and served the steamed shrimp, apricot-glazed chicken, and hearty gouda Mac & cheese, Eric LoPresti was kind enough to take guests through the gallery, explaining both the science and the inspiration behind each work of art in FADE.

The remote landscapes in his works are, in a natural sense, marred by man-made sprawling developments. However, Eric revealed that in these industrial remnants of the cold war, he finds an inherent symbolism and aesthetic that elevates them from blights on the landscape to structures of beauty bordering on the sublime. He spoke about how vague recollections from childhood of these seemingly barren landscapes shaped his fascination and ultimately his depiction of the deserts and plains in his work.

Eric and Lisa are sort of the ultimate art couple - he's a painter (obviously) and she's a sculptor. They gave us all a peek into their lives; their concerns as artists, their reactions to each other's work, and their take on the direction that they've seen contemporary art taking during their travels to London, Denmark, and (soon) India. When asked "why do you make art?" by another guest, Lisa thought before saying "It's a compulsion. I'm compelled to create." Eric agreed, saying that there was something positive about the fact that it is so difficult to be a professional artist - only those with that same compulsion and the drive to put it to use are able to persevere.

We also talked about weddings, wallpaper, Pac Man, and Otzi the Ice Mummy, but we'll leave those elements of the conversation to your imagination.

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