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Eric Dever

Statement/Biography

ERIC DEVER (C. 1962)

Eric Dever: Painting in a House Made of Air, features brilliantly hued, large-scale paintings, which emerged when Dever was planting a garden at his Water Mill, New York, studio. For more than a decade, Eric Dever purposefully redacted color, using a limited palette: white for four years, white and black for two years, followed by white, black and red. “I found myself taking cues from flowers as they blossomed and color entered my paintings.” However, instead of exploring just one color at a time, Dever embraced the entire spectrum. Initially he used mostly mixed tints, but with this epiphany of color, he began creating new mixed hues.

The shift in his art occurred when he let go of the square canvas and moved to rectangular formats that loosened up his compositions, as “there was no longer a central area of interest, but multiple areas of concentration.” When the works are placed together, a remarkable variety both in hue and composition is revealed.

Dever coupled his new palette with his awareness of the yogic notion of the chakras—seven energetic centers in the human body where matter and consciousness meet—in which he finds a parallel to the visible spectrum. He also often exchanges shapes among works, using a monoprint process of painting onto a surface, which he then transfers to canvas. As art critic Jennifer Landes observed, “these repetitions of forms and other planned elements, together with his more gestural painting of the rest of the canvas, creates a charged tension between spontaneity and organization…one of the ways de Kooning worked.”1

Despite his coastal surroundings, Dever is drawn more to land than sea, and his expression of processes of organic life can be linked to wide ranging examples from throughout the history of art from Roman wall paintings to illustrations of botanical specimens to arabesques and beyond.

Born in 1962 in Los Angeles, Eric Dever studied at the Otis College of Art and Design on a full scholarship and graduated from California Lutheran University in 1984. Two years later, he began graduate studies at the New York University Steinhardt School, working under Marcia Hafif and Peter Campus, completing his Master of Arts in 1988. In the early 1990s, he worked part-time in I. M. Pei’s architectural firm while exhibiting his art nationally and internationally in academic and gallery venues. In 1991, he was featured in a solo exhibition, Hastings on the Hudson, Hudson River Museum, New York. A portion of his portfolio was published as editorial illustrations in The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harvard Business Review, and St. Martin’s Press.

Dever moved to Eastern Long Island in 2002, limiting his palette for four years to Zinc and Titanium White, which “enabled him to uncover a white spectrum ranging from opacity to translucency, while developing a heightened sensitivity to the properties of the linen, canvas and burlap, providing both surface and support.” In 2007, he was commissioned to create a suite of eight white paintings for The Francis J. Greenburger Collection, curated by Elisabeth Akkerman. In 2010, Dever added black, widening the range and force of the work. His compositions of this time were largely geometric and included grayscales and circles, graded from dark to light. These works were exhibited in the 2011 exhibitions, Grey Matter at the Painting Center in New York, and Doucement at ParisCONCRET.

In August 2012, Dever’s large oil on burlap painting Cloud Life was featured on the stage at Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York, accompanying a play of the same name by playwright Joseph Pintauro as part of “The Painting Plays.” Pintauro admired the struggle he saw in Dever’s art “between reductive color minimalism and the artist’s morphing into representation.”2 In the same year, Dever began testing prepared red hues, arriving at Napthol Scarlet, a modern replacement for Vermillion. He worked through some of his earlier compositions exploring relative color, following the approach of Josef Albers. In these works, variations on red, black and white, background painting incrementally became foreground, displaying a pulsing metallic quality made visible as similar values of opposite tones were placed alongside each other. Color itself became Dever’s material.

In 2012 at the invitation of artist Robert Dash, Dever inaugurated the first painting classes at the Madoo Conservancy, Sagaponack, New York (critiqued by Dash). Dever continues to teach, presenting innovative classes and workshops at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, where he has also given talks on the Parrish’s permanent collection and recent exhibitions, including Parrish Perspectives: Art in Context and a collection exhibition of James Brooks.

Recent solo exhibitions include Berry Campbell, New York, 2014; Molloy College, Rockville Centre, 2014; New York University, Kimmel Galleries, New York, 2015-2016; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, 2017. Dever's work was included in the permanent collection exhibition, Parrish Perspectives: Art in Context, curated by Alicia G. Longwell at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, 2017. His paintings are currently on view in the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau, Art in Embassies, Department of State exhibition, 2016-2019, and were featured in a lecture by Gail Levin, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, American Art and India: Cultural Exchange Among Artists of India and the United States, at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, New York, 2016.

Dever’s paintings have been shown in solo and group exhibitions in many venues, including 80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York University, New York; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; Arizona State University, Phoenix; Art in General, New York; Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York; The Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, Texas; Centre d’Art et Rencontres, Saint-Just de Bélengard, France; City National Plaza, Los Angeles, California; Eastern New Mexico University, Portales; Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; Heckscher Museum of Art, New York; Hudson River Museum, Hastings on the Hudson, New York; Islip Art Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Marymount University, San Pedro, California; Ohio State University, Marion; The Painting Center, New York; ParisCONCRET, France; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, Sag Harbor, New York; Spaces, Cleveland, Ohio; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Eric Dever’s public collections include the Centre d'Art et de Culture, Château d’Escueillens, Saint-Just de Bellengard, France; Division Street Editions and The Reutershan Educational Trust, Sag Harbor, New York; The Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York; Grey Art Gallery, New York University; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York; New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, Fish Bridge Park; Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York; and numerous corporate and private collections including the Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia; Mark Hampton; Sub Zero Freezer Company, Madison, Wisconsin; and Lady Juliet and Somerset de Chair.


-Lisa N. Peters
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1Jennifer Landes, “Eric Dever: A Year of Discovery,” The East Hampton Star. April 6th, 2017.


 


2Joan Baum, “When Art Inspires Playwrights,” The Sag Harbor Express. August 30th, 2012.


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CV


1962, Los Angeles, California
1984, Bachelor of Arts, California Lutheran College, Thousand Oaks, California
1988, Master of Arts, New York University 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
80 Washington Square East Galleries, New York University, New York, Eric Dever, 1989.
Cloître des Billettes, Paris, Moments Ephémères, 1991.
Hudson River Museum, Hastings on the Hudson, New York, Meditations, 1991.
ARC Gallery, Chicago, La Comédie Humaine, 1994.
Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1995.
Nicholas Davies Gallery, New York, Le Désert de Retz et Parc Monceau, 1997.
Everything is Everything, Brooklyn, 4 Funerals and 2 Follies, 1998.
Centre d’Art et de Rencontres, Château d’Escueillens, Saint-Just en Bellengard, France, Diamonds and Rust, 2004.
White Room, Soho House, New York, East End Paintings, 2004.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, Perennial Histories, 2005.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Shelter Island, New York, White Paintings 2007-9, 2009.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, Black as White, 2011.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, Red White and Black Paintings, 2012.
Berry Campbell, New York, Eric Dever, 2014.
Frank and Gertrude Kaiser Art Gallery, Molloy College, The Rose Chapel, 2014.
New York University, Kimmel Galleries, Passion, Clarity, and Dark Inertia, 2015.
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California, Light, Energy and Matter, 2017.
Berry Campbell, New York, Painting in a House Made of Air, 2019.


GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Art Rental and Sales Gallery, Los Angeles, California, 1980.
ARCO, Los Angeles, California, Future Masters Art Exhibition and Scholarship Program, 1980.
Conejo Valley Art Museum, Thousand Oaks, California, 1984.
PS 122, New York, Out of Landscape, 1990.
Art in General, New York, Salon Show, (curated by Holly Block), 1992.
Renée Fotouhi Gallery East, East Hampton, New York, 1992.
Catskill Gallery, Catskill, New York, View from Olana: A Survey of Contemporary Landscape Art, 1993.
Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, Scene and Unscene, 1993.
Renée Fotouhi Gallery East, East Hampton, New York, 1993.
Spaces, Cleveland, Ohio, History Painting, 1993.
Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1994.
ACME Art Co., Columbus, Ohio, 1995.
Renée Fotouhi Gallery East, East Hampton, New York, 1995.
Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1996.
Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1997.
Coleman Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1998.
Sculpture Center, New York, 1999.
The Buddy Holly Center, Lubbock, Texas, Y2-Klay, 2000.
Gallery 402, New York, 2001.
Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, 2002.
Gallery 402, New York, 2003.
Mark Borghi Fine Art, Bridgehampton, New York, 2004.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, 2004.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, 2005.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, 2006.
Amy Simon Fine Art, Westport, Connecticut, 2007.
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sleight of Hand, 2007.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, 2008.
Ken Jones Jr. Fine Art, Easton, Pennsylvania, How Does Your Garden Grow, 2009.
Kuhn Fine Arts Gallery, Ohio State University, Marion, Something About Nothing, 2009.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Shelter Island, New York, 2009.
Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, Biennial, 2010.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Shelter Island, New York, 2010.
ParisCONCRET, Paris, Doucement, 2011.
Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, The Big Show, 2011.
The Painting Center, New York, Grey Matter, 2011.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, 2012.
Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, 2012.
ParisCONCRET, Paris, Poste Concret, 2013.
Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, New York, A Whale of a Show, 2013.
Sara Nightingale Gallery, Water Mill, New York, Meditation Room, 2013.
Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, New York, A Whale of a Show, 2014.
Islip Art Museum, East Islip, New York, Redacted: Connecting Dots Through a Shifting Field (curated by Janet Goleas), 2014.
Ille Art, Amagansett, New York, 2014.
Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, California, Berry Campbell, 2014.
Art Wynwood, Miami, Florida, Berry Campbell, 2014.
Guild Hall, Member’s Show, East Hampton, New York, 2015.
Berry Campbell, Summer Selections, New York 2015.
Art Miami, Miami, Florida, Berry Campbell, 2015.
Arkansas Art Center, The 47th Collectors Show. Little Rock, Arkansas, 2015.
Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, California, Berry Campbell, 2015.
Wood Gallery, Arizona State University, Tempe, Somewhere Between Black & White, 2015.
Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York, 2015.
Ille Art, Amagansett, New York, 2016.
Art Southampton, Southampton, New York, Berry Campbell, 2016.
Art Wynwood, Miami, Florida, Berry Campbell, 2016.
Klaus Center for the Arts, Marymount University of California-Arts and Media, San Pedro, California, The Art of Change, 2016.
Art Southampton, Southampton, New York, Berry Campbell, 2016
Art in Embassies, United States Consulate, Hong Kong and Macau, 2016-19.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2017.
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York, Parrish Perspectives: New Works in Context, 2017.
Occupy Museums, Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Debtfair, 2017.
Southampton Art Center, Southampton, New York, East End Collected 3 (curated by Paton Miller), 2017.
Crush Curatorial, Amagansett, New York, Alt-Egos (curated by Scott Bluedorn), 2017.
Berry Campbell, New York, Summer Selections, 2018. 


SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Animal Rescue Fund ARF, East Hampton, New York
Centre d’Art et de Culture, Château d’Escueillens, Aude, France
Coca Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia
Collection Mark Hampton
Division Street Editions and The Reutershan Educational Trust, Sag Harbor
Francis J. Greenburger Collection, New York
Gracie Mansion, New York
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York
Lady Juliet and Somerset de Chair
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, New York
Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, New York
Sub Zero Freezer Company, Madison, Wisconsin