Sky High 

Eric Yevak's art shows a history of struggle

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“Every piece is a story, every piece is a huge epic snapshot. I think you can look at each piece as a window to a battlefield,” New York artist Eric Yevak says of his newest show at Eric Schindler Gallery. “These images are me just trying to get my demons out.”

Yevak, 35, has been working toward “Two Skies” all of his life. His work, past and present, is a continuation in a study of life and its always present struggles. His paintings of graphite, resin, oils and ink lie upon wood panels and bleed together through chance. The resin takes 72 hours to cure, time riddled with uncertainty.

“Sometimes it has been destroyed; sometimes the chemical reaction with the inks and the resin has completely blackened the whole thing out,” he says of his process. “So I am constantly surprised too. The end result is almost never what I plan it to be but that is the whole part of the process, that is the growth of it.” 

There is an age to Yevak's paintings. The markings and appearance reveal a history of struggle and toil like the face of a boxer or the hands of a farmer. His use of resin envelops the canvas in a hazed patina. Intertwined are reappropriated symbols of Arabic language, street graffiti and pressed images from old wallpaper. Yevak creates something wholly new and then proceeds to layer upon it a lifetime of wear.

“This is me … taking all of these influences, all of these different cultures that are fighting for visual dominance as well as cultural dominance and kind of putting them in the paintings without judging.”

These abstract paintings exist without titles, only a recorded history in a numerical pattern to decipher where along the continuum each one exists. Each painting is a repetition through minimalism and a primer for conceptualism. They are simple in content, but of a sublime nature with its true effect like that of a dark massive storm -- dangerous and necessary.

“It is still part of my core, this idea of struggling so that it doesn't even matter what the struggle is, what matters is that you are fighting, that you are getting up every day, you are fighting for this thing.”

His use of conflict and struggle is an effort toward the development of a unique mythology. His life, process and finished paintings all encompass a mantra of unquestioned challenge. A violent battle he sees as a constant in life.

“I don't have a conclusion I don't have a finished thesis on all of this yet,” he says, “I wish I did, and then maybe I would stop and come to an understanding of what all of this is.”

“Two Skies,” new paintings by Eric Yevak, will be showing through Oct. 8 at Eric Schindler Gallery, 2305 E. Broad St. Call 804-644-5005 or visit ericschindlergallery.com for hours.

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