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  • Source: ARTFORUM
  • Author: EDITORS
  • Date: FEBRUARY 12, 2020
  • Format: DIGITAL


"Eric N. Mack: Face It" at Morán Morán

Eric N. Mack, Prince, 2020, Wall print, Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Morán Morán

“Eric N. Mack: Face It” at Morán Morán is currently featured on’s “Must-See Shows” list, our editors’ selection of essential exhibitions worldwide.

Morán Morán is pleased to announce Eric N. Mack’s exhibition, titled Face It. With his second solo show at the gallery, Mack presents over a dozen works, including paintings as moving blankets, pegboards, and wall-based prints, as well as several large-scale fabric installations. Each piece is a visual recount of the artist’s experience of making, concerned with transformation of physical gestures and material truth.

Mack continues to exploit the prospects of the moving blanket as an image plane – the intrinsic geometry in its stitching, the durability dictated by its function, and what the moving blanket symbolizes – a space of emotive absorption. One piece, We make it easy, you make it home., 2020, utilizes a shiny orange blanket as the background for a Suprematist composition of various pages adhered to the surface in a methodical way; some are dyed and painted works over plain paper, one is a colored and manipulated spread from a Captiva Island newspaper, and yet another is a yellowed title page torn from a paperback novel, inscribed with the signature of its previous owner.

A series of pegboard paintings submits another example of experimentation with surface and materiality. The pegboard is an artifact. Used as a crude screen, paint absorbs into the surface, forever changing its material identity. Its dot pattern is a repetition, of a porous skin, an instrument, a printing device, producing polka dots, pixels, and points of light. Between the matrix of negative space, Mack makes swathes of recurring, curved strokes of paint, a record of motion, impulse, and energy. These gestures push the paint past the surface, an index that traces movement, over which he mounts shrouds of fabric, hung from appendages that protrude perpendicular from the front. The effect of these levitating forms is bodily in a spectral way, only grounding our experience via fragments and contradictions.

Throughout the gallery, Mack installed oversized versions of his source material archive, stripped from magazines, dyed, and painted, paired with abstract vestiges of process, directly to the walls. These enormous prints, some spanning 10 x 32 feet, create an enveloping environment in which we find moments to grasp perspective and spatial context. In addition to these two-dimensional maneuvers, Mack activates the architecture of the gallery with fabric apparitions that span the space, composed of delicate materials that are solid and patterned, sewn together, yet consistently translucent. This layering of dimensions serves as a mimesis or mise en abyme, as the whole (macro) mirrors the individual work (micro). Questioning proximity and the consequence of posture, Face It is a prompt for the viewer to confront temporality and the sensation of ambiguity, in abstract language.

“It’s not my job to make the world look less murky, but it is my job to face it.” – Eric N. Mack

Eric N. Mack (b. 1987, Columbia, MD) lives and works in New York, NY. He received his BFA from The Cooper Union, New York, NY and his MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT. In 2017, Mack was the recipient of the inaugural BALTIC Artists’ Award selected by artist Lorna Simpson and completed the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva Island, Florida, FL and an artist-in-residency at Delfina Foundation in London, UK. Institutional solo exhibitions include In austerity, stripped from its support and worn as a sarong, The Power Station, Dallas, TX (2020); Lemme walk across the room, Brooklyn Museum, NY (2019); the BALTIC Artists’ Award 2017, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2017); and Eric Mack: Vogue Fabrics, Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2017). Major group exhibitions include Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Inherent Structure, Wexner Center, Columbus, OH; Ungestalt, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2017); In the Abstract, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Massachusetts, MA (2017); Blue Black, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St Louis, MO (2017); Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2016) and Greater New York 2015, MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2015). Mack’s work is in the permanent collections of Albright-Knox Art Gallery; The Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.