hidell brooks was thinking about gallery artist eric aho whose solo exhibition ice cuts opened at the hood museum of art this past friday. we both remember the first time we saw eric's paintings way back in the late 90's and fell in love with them immediately. we have had the honor of watching his work evolve and change over the years. the path his work has taken is an evolution that happened slowly and purposefully. his work always awes us and we are thrilled for his show at the hood for the ice cut paintings are dear to his heart. if only we could make the trek up to the hood to be surrounded by the beauty and quiet he has created in these extraordinary paintings.
eric aho’s icy abstractions at the hood museum of art emphasize nature’s innate contrasts
the avanto, or the hole cut in the pond ice next to a finnish sauna, has captivated nationally recognized vermont artist eric aho for the last nine years and inspired the ongoing series of paintings titled ice cuts. the hood museum of art, dartmouth college, is delighted to gather together, for the first time, a large group of these works, along with the artist’s related watercolor studies and monotypes. this exhibition provides the opportunity to share in aho’s extended meditation upon this austere, simple, yet mesmerizing subject. eric aho: ice cuts is on view from january 9 through march 13, 2016, and programming highlights include an opening artist talk and reception on friday, january 8, as well as other talks, tours, workshops and family events, and member exclusives.
“i hope to accomplish something in painting that has the weight of actual human experience,” says aho of the ice cuts series.
trained initially as a printmaker, eric aho started painting when he moved to northern new england to teach that subject at the putney school in vermont in 1989. his major interest has been the landscape. his work has evolved toward abstraction in recent decades, as is clear from the ice cuts series, which eliminates the horizon line and focuses entirely on the shape of this void in the ice. the vantage point of these pictures is slightly above the hole, in fact, and in the large paintings it feels as though one needs to take just a few steps to immerse oneself in the cold depths.
the ice surface and cutaway edge reveal nuanced color and curious reflections, while the water in the hole is opaque in some canvases and reflective in others. together, these aspects become rich painterly opportunities for aho. as the series progresses, for example, aho transforms the water, occupying the primary shape of the canvas, from a dark chasm into a glowing yellow surface, revealing the light of an imagined arctic sky. in these luminous and complex works, ice and water, the same substance in different forms, are transubstantiated as paint through color and brushstroke. seen as a whole, eric aho’s ice cuts are an intense meditation on winter, and on the art of painting.
the hood museum of art
if you are near dartmouth college in the next few months please make sure to check out eric aho exhibition. in the meantime all available paintings by eric aho are on our website under his artist's tab. please call the gallery if you have any questions.