Morgan Lehman Gallery is pleased to present Trance Farm, an exhibition of new drawings by Eric Beltz.
Witchcraft, religion, the holy cow of humanist art, counted cross-stitch, and screwed up renderings of mythological narratives comprise Eric Beltz’s second solo show with Morgan Lehman Gallery “Trance Farm”. The title is borrowed from a forced pun found in an article about urban farming in a contemporary spiritualist magazine. Beltz both laughs with and laughs at American society. He focuses his sharpened pencil on those cultural impulses to name, order, and moralize nature within an irrefutably human landscape. He also uses equal doses of nostalgia and cynicism in his compositions, stirring the contrary notions of a generation that has inherited an ethos from their parents to return to the old ways of their grandparents. Backyard gardens, home pickling, an interest in or small-scale production of artisinal food represent other expressions of these same themes.
“Trance Farm” includes two series of drawings. One named after the show’s title involving snowy landscapes, piles of animal heads, or didactic, text-infused scenes. The other series “Elementary Forces” uses the graph paper-like basis for counted cross-stitch to create visionary patterns. Borrowing from Colonial American samplers, Navaho blanket patterns, 11th century European mystics, and Modernist abstractions these humble drawings seek to re-invigorate domestic decoration with spiritual import. The name “Elementary Forces” itself refers to both the basic principles of childhood learning as well as the governing, fundamental principles of nature.
Eric Beltz received his MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2004 where he currently teaches the lost art of drawing. His work has been featured in Flaunt Magazine and American Artist as well as numerous group shows across the United States and Europe. His work is in several public collections including the Nerman Museum, the Progressive Collection, the Artist Pension Trust, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.