Chicago Art Review


Ephameron @ Believe Inn by Steve Ruiz
September 1, 2009, 2:32 am
Filed under: Chicago

Antwerpian artist and illustrator Ephameron‘s exhibition list stretches for Internet miles, but this Friday it got one line longer with her show Letting Go at Believe Inn. With travelogue subject matter and print-sketch composition, Ehpameron (real name Eva Cardon) put together a show which, while it included some digital prints, was best when demonstrating her fluid ability to bring the vector aesthetic and mobile composition of digital illustration into traditional media.

If you like pretty birds and houses, there will be plenty to throb at; but if you like to wonder why everyone is using collage and fucking graphite in 2009, this might be a more thought-provoking show too.

Ephameron, Collages

Ephameron, Collages

There are five or six separate bodies of work in Letting Go. Two are digital, three are traditional two-dimensional media, and one is sculptural (some cute feathers which were jigged out in the back studio with blades surely bobbing nervously along an unfamiliar, less reassuring path). The grids of the digital work are balanced and blasted by the heavily drifting feathers, black duct tape wall piece and the overlapping display of the drawings.

Ephameron at Believe Inn

Ephameron at Believe Inn

The display of the show isn’t too unique or novel, but then the work really doesn’t provide many conceptual plates to spin. In Letting Go, like goes with like and it serves the work well.

Ephameron, Book

Ephameron, from Love/Pain

Throw in a pair of really beautiful books, and the amount of work to look at is more than satisfying. I shouldn’t make these two out to be anything less than awesome, so I’ll repeat that: these books are awesome. You will buy them for your girlfriend and she will love them and you will love them and you both will spend the rest of your relationship fighting over them. Get them here.

Ephameron, from FOUND+LOST

Ephameron, from Found+Lost

But once my greatly appreciated eyeball wash of beauty and craft finished was done, it was the play between digital and traditional that really me in the gallery. (Though it didn’t keep me long enough to catch Stan Chisholm’s Moneybags, so if you did feel free to let us all know how that was.)

The best place to start talking about that sisterhood would be with the drawings.

Every drawing has been made with what looks like a number two pencil, somewhere between sharp and dull, and with only a single kind of line. There are no stressed heavy lines or gentle light lines here, just a regular, medium pressure, mostly straight contour line. The artist rarely crosshatches, though value is built up occasionally by near marks. It’s incredibly straightforward. This same approach to drawing is called back on the wall piece, which with only black electrical tape makes the line even less dramatic.

Ephameron, Drawings

Ephameron, Drawings

Where have we seen this kind of use of line before? I’ll blame Adobe. Like the gentle blends in a tattooist’s notebook or the (stolen) Prismacolor marker puffs in a graffito’s sketchbook, this tactical, vectory, undecorative use of line is as familiar in digital composition as it is unfamiliar here on paper. Add in the use of cut and paste collage and (mostly) fill painting, and you’ve got a very casually integrated set of formal tools borrowed from any image manipulation software. I could even go so far as to point to the use of erasable graphite as a tangible analog to the infinitely erasable digital line.

This is different from conceptual digital/material translation pieces. This is perhaps more significant in that it isn’t conceptually driven, just stylistically present. Its part of the deep structure.

Ephameron, Drawings

Ephameron, Drawings

Now I’m pretty sure that every traditional media artist, especially in the face of increasingly capable artistic software, hedged on an inevitable return to traditional, tangible, and unique art objects. I sure did. Whether by painterly conspiracy, market pressure, or (more likely) the towering height of the digital stack of shit produced since fine artists first got their hands on hacked copies of Photoshop, we were mostly right. But while the one-off framed piece of art is still king, maybe we’re not so post-digital as we think. If the digital influence on traditional art-making has been overlooked, Ephameron’s Letting Go may be a good place to start seeing ghosts.

I give it a:

7.3

Ephameron‘s Letting Go runs August 29th through September 30th @ Believe Inn, 2043 N. Winchester.

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