Christopher Volpe blogs about the exhibition Eric Aho: Ice Cuts at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth University, on view through March 13, 2016.
Volpe writes: "A stark, angular void edges out the largely blank, skewed border of remaining white space in the canvases of Vermont painter Eric Aho’s series of Ice Cut paintings. To call these paintings abstractions would not be incorrect, nor would it be accurate. The paintings depict the hole cut in ice, or avanto, as it’s called in Finnish, intended for the bracing plunge following the heat of a Finnish sauna. Aho, of Finnish descent, first painted the motif (to scale) in 2008, during his family’s regular recreational outings to a frozen pond in New Hampshire. Since then, he has immersed himself in a multifaceted investigation of the dark void produced by sawing into the thick ice."
Commenting about granting himself permission to be "recklesss" in his work, Aho comments: "I have been describing 'the casual eye' for ten years. I don’t think I invented it, but it occurred to me in thinking about John Constable. Constable left London to come back home to Suffolk and Dedham Vale. His landscapes are painted with deep knowledge of how the whole structure of that landscape worked, from its agrarian purpose to its atmospheric incident. But everything was put on his canvas very casually. Constable gave me that idea: it’s not about making something; it is about letting something arrive. It doesn’t have to precise, but it has to be accurate. There is a self-knowing and confidence in the casual."
Arlene Distler blogs about encountering the paintings of Eric Aho and a subsequent visit to Aho's studio.
Distler writes that in Aho's work, "nature is clearly a constant touchstone. Aho talks about still doing plein-air painting, but notes, chuckling, that these excursions do not look like the usual outdoor painter’s. No neat painting box (or messy one for that matter) for him. He goes out in his truck, and basically carries his studio with him. There are buckets of brushes, cans and bowls of paint, some left over from previous paintings. To me, the large abstract oils are an unfettering of what has always been evident in Aho’s work: a love of the medium and an exploration of what a robust and lyrical approach to the laying on of paint can do. How a painting can evoke something seen or remembered and at the same time have a life of its own internal space, form, and color. In the case of Aho, that life is akin to music or dance. Not to overstate, but one senses arabesques in the brushwork and whole symphonies of color."
Ed Beem blogs about the exhibition Transcending Nature: Paintings by Eric Aho at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester NH, on view through September 9, 2012.
Beem writes "What intrigued me then and intrigues me now is the virtuosity with which Aho handles paint while modulating along a spectrum of descriptive fidelity from painterly realism to pure abstraction. He was a student of George Nick at MassArt and he retains an allegiance to the visible world, yet Aho is also able to free himself from the bonds of description to explore the way paint on canvas becomes its own landscape, every bit as real, perhaps even more so, as a picture of a landscape."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.