Eric Yahnker “Factory Reset”

The Hole

poster for Eric Yahnker “Factory Reset”

This event has ended.

The Hole presents our third solo exhibition with Southern California-based artist Eric Yahnker. From his home in Desert Hot Springs, CA, Yahnker has elaborated in pastel across large swaths of sandpaper a vision of America today and a culture in need of a “factory reset”, erasing all content and settings, wiping the memory, rebooting the corrupted system.

The title piece in the show (above) kicks things off by making us hold up a (cameraphone) mirror to our participation in what has gone wrong. The celebrity, vanity and vacuousness of Warhol’s aluminum foiled-“Factory” is easily integrated into 2018’s influencer-driven social media selfie culture. Were there any truly cool and avante gardist strategies to come from that enclave of artmaking that weren’t immediately obliterated when we all got iPhones? And what can artmaking today achieve against such an all-encompassing visual foe? The pieces in the show look at both how we got here and urgently ask how do we get the hell out of here.

Pastel on sandpaper is one of the most painterly techniques I’ve seen in drawing; the slight tooth of the paper grabbing little fistfuls of colored dust off the pastels, leading to blendable and saturated brights. For an artist who spent a decade exhausting his fingers with a million thin colored pencil and graphite marks he is now scraping them off by blending on sandpaper. Yahnker can work quicker and more loosely and doesn’t have to layer fine lines over each other. He can smear in some shadow and splash on the highlights, leave a sketchy edge or smooth subtle gradients. His quick mind can now be drawn out through quick execution.

As has always been the case for Yahnker, the subject matter he chooses is uncomfortable. Even what looks like a purely uplifting and positive image can have layers of problematization that can sit funny to a viewer even when you’re not sure why. A lot of visual signifiers go into each of these careful image puzzles, and every decision counts. The audio guide for the show will let the artist describe in his own voice some of the layers of thinking to take you down the rabbit hole of each piece should you so choose.

Gallery 3 is dedicated to a single piece: a series of 29 pastel works that in order comprise sequential frames of an animation. “Orange Privilege” is then a hybrid drawing and video piece where each frame of a clip, from the blurry transitional frames to the sharper focus I-frames, retains some digital video artifacts and crunchy bits of erratic color. The scene it captures is only 3 seconds long but deeply disturbing; Donald Trump bear-hugs the American flag with an insipid grin on his face above a throng of eager reporters.

In the artist’s words: “Factory Reset is comprised of fifteen new pastel drawings and one large, room-filling sequential animation that all try to metaphorically encapsulate the state of our union; its hopes, fears, desires and mind-bending surreality come to life. All this is as seen through the cracked lens of a 40-something, Jewish, West Coast progressive artist and political satirist, who not only deems himself a red, white and blue-blooded patriot, but is also a newly-minted father to a badass little girl that I’ll have to one day tell the story of Trump to (without vomiting).”



from November 15, 2018 to December 23, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-11-15 from 18:00 to 20:00


Eric Yahnker

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