Last Chance to Catch Erik Foss’s New York Debut Solo Show Avarice at Mallick Williams
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Erik Foss is part of the fabric of New York. He is the proprietor of Lit, one of the quintessential dive bars in the city, and Fuse Gallery which sustains the skater/punk aesthetic. This is the last week to catch Erik Foss’ New York debut solo show at Mallick Williams & Co gallery in Chelsea.
The show, titled Avarice, is a meditation on September 11th. The exhibition, which opened on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, consists of 85 paintings that all depict a similar image of two nondescript mountains of black, painted upside-down with splatters and drips flowing upwards. Despite the repetition, what stands out is how individual and different each of the works are. The larger paintings in the front room incorporate different techniques in the their backgrounds like drawing and collage. The largest painting in the room is mostly black with a bright red sky that could either be a sunset or the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Another work in the front room is painted over a ground of primitively drawn multi-colored balloons, possibly from a children’s birthday party, obstructed by the drippy black foreground. The upward flowing drips in this work mimic the implied defiance of gravity by the helium-filled balloons. Of the dozens of works on paper, hung salon style in the back room, no two feel quite the same. Some painted wet-on-wet feel like watercolor blending into the page, while others have a profile of oil paint built up on the surface.
These purely abstract works are dark and heavy, which is natural considering the inspiration behind the series. Although the references to September 11th come through, they are not blatant. Any of the works in this show can exist autonomously from the series and still convey the same emotion without being an illustration. Beyond the darkness these works offer an uplifting glimmer of hope.