October 20 — November 24, 2018
A Few Things For the World's End
Conduit Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Eric Zimmerman in the Conduit Gallery Project Room.
To Eric Zimmerman, the historical significance of a Sonic Youth tape stuck to the floor of his car for 15 years is on equal footing with a Neolithic stone axe. In A Few Things For The World’s End, Zimmerman is not invoking the apocalypse, but pining for a world that handles meaning a bit more timorously.
The title is a reference to T.C. Boyle’s novel World’s End, though in the fashion of art, the show isn’t a literal statement on the literary work, it’s just a ‘very rough jumping off point’, as the artist reports. The work as a whole reflects this titular dynamic though: these are representational drawings in graphite that are named by what they depict. Occasionally, Zimmerman will offer direct comparisons to the viewer, as in one small drawing, wherein we see a Roman bust floating above a graphic pattern created using an analogue computer from John H. Whitney. He relents, however, that these are still drawings, they’re objects even as they refer to other objects.
The history of the object is never intentionally erased, though convolutions happen when considering personal associations to what is viewed. Zimmerman is okay with this. He says he’s pushing back against a time when everything is a signal loaded with specific and intentional meaning. There should be room for more ambiguity, fewer sales pitches. He reiterates of the work, “This is not Zen, this is accepting meaninglessness as productive and radical in this day and age"
The result is a poetic installation, replete with an appropriative assemblage of historical and cultural items whose proximity to each other works mysteriously in service to our emotional response, thus creating an infinite mixtape of connections and feelings.
An artist and writer based in Seattle, Zimmerman’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Art Palace Gallery in Houston and the Reading Room in Dallas, and as part of group exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Chicago. He was a resident at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE. Zimmerman was most recently the Assistant Exhibition Designer at The Menil Collection in Houston, and editor of Austin-based art journal ...might be good. He has held teaching positions at St. Edwards University and the University of Texas at Austin. Zimmerman received his MFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2002.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A Few Things for The World’s End
As it turns out the world has already ended; we’re just figuring out how to come to terms with it. This group of drawings continues my broader inquiries into the way we create andcome to understand knowledge and experience. To this I’d like to add memory and myth.Images are the starting point. Images as symbols. Images as objects. Images as the locus forthe aforementioned concepts. Images that are representative of a complex, varying, and infinite series of associations and meanings. Playing fast and loose with these meaningsthrough re-contextualization as a drawing or in an exhibition, confirmation, and undermining, are just a few ways I think about it. Not too hard though. These are small drawings for somber times. A little bit of quiet catharsis that creeps in and out of specific themes. They can each be read singly and as a whole, as individual actors and in relationship to one another. Give it up, let it roll. Is it possible to reclaim mystery in our world? I don’t know, man, but this is a small effort to do so.
With a nod to T.C. Boyle’s novel ‘World’s End’ I wrote this when I began the drawings:
A guy I know crashed his motorcycle into a tree and lost his foot. He came from an old Dutch family with roots near Kaaterskill. You could trace the history of the place through his family tree, through the ghosts, the stars, through the low slate walls and arrowheads and that feeling you wake up with. Rip Van Winkle must’ve had some wild dreams man. It was bitter cold on the day his 98CC Norton Commando slid of the road. His anger and trouble only multiplied. To think, being so close to oblivion and coming away only missing a foot?