Tristan Eaton "Legacy" @ Subliminal Projects, LA
n this exhibition, Eaton explores the topic of “legacy," in his most personal and introspective exhibition yet. Eaton looks for ways to pay respect to those who came before him and honor their legacy for infinite generations to-come, with a captivating array of paintings and fabricated metal print works.
On November 7th, Library Street Collective will present “Legacy,” a solo exhibition of new work by Tristan Eaton at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles. In this exhibition, Eaton explores the topic of “legacy," in his most personal and introspective exhibition yet. Eaton looks for ways to pay respect to those who came before him and honor their legacy for infinite generations to-come, with a captivating array of paintings and fabricated metal print works. The canvas works include mixed-media portraits of spray paint, acrylic and silkscreen, involving patterned, symbolic and metaphoric layers inspired by audio interviews the artist conducted with nearly a dozen people who have played an important role in his life.
“A common challenge we all share is adequately describing a loved one to people that never knew them,” Eaton says on his first solo show in the United States in nearly a decade. “It’s so important to pass on the legacy of those you love to your children and grandchildren, but also to the whole world. The sharing of human stories is an ancient tradition that bonds us closer together as people. As a result, we understand each other more deeply and become stronger better people when the context of our legacy is clear. The people that came before me made me who I am, and I intend to pass along their stories and strengths by creating this ‘time-capsule’ of an exhibition that honors their legacy and preserves their stories forever.”
To create the core works for the exhibition which are detailed, abstract portraits, Eaton picked up one of his father’s hobbies as inspiration. “One of his great loves was to listen to life stories. He would sit with someone for hours, take their photograph and ask them never ending questions about their lives.” Eaton conducted similar audio interviews with a select group of people which have been mastered and made public for exhibition viewers to hear in conjunction with the show via Eaton’s website, to further illustrate the visuals. “These stories started out as a simple time-capsule. An audio record to inform the visual portrait. But as the stories poured out, I realized that they were entertaining in their own right. From Oscar winners to civil rights warriors to religious cults, there is a lot to draw from as an artist, but the stories remain strong on their own.’”
The depth of the work is thorough and thoughtful. For example, a portrait of Eaton’s mother, in which elements of her portrait show the brick wall pattern in front of the artist’s childhood home and a pattern from his father’s favorite sweater. Every single element has meaning and every image is a metaphor or symbol linked to the intriguing back story of the subject.
“Legacy” is a highly personal and revealing body of work for Eaton. The artist rarely creates such sentimental works and has spent the last five months researching and meticulously painting this detailed, abstract collection of family portraits.
Other highlights of the exhibition include Eaton’s first-ever self-portrait, the highly anticipated release of his first art book "The Murals of Tristan Eaton" which documents his many ambitious, international mural projects and the release of his limited edition "Art Can" produced by Montana Spray Paint.
The entire exhibition will be catalogued digitally along with the audio interviews in a small, glass bottle USB along with a digital copy of Eaton’s mural book. The glass bottle USBs will be limited edition and available to attendees of the exhibition only.
"This is the form, the kind of crazy-epic collage of the scattered and shattered brought together, whole. These are the steps that a criminal mind and a commercial hand take when they try to wrestle and dance their way to harmony. It’s the highly skilled illustrator proving that he can paint, the painter proving he can think, and the thinker proving that he’s down for a bar brawl. It’s the kind of crazy shit you get when a great storyteller gives up on being literal and jumps into the puddles of abstract thinking with an armful of loaded iconographies." — Carlo McCormick on Eaton's work, an excerpt from his foreword in "The Murals of Tristan Eaton"
Tristan Eaton: Legacy
Presented by Library Street Collective
Los Angeles, CA
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at 7 p.m.
On View: November 7 - November 14, 2015