Fou Gallery announces Michael Eade’s solo exhibition, After the Burn, which will take place from Mar. 26, 2022, to Jun. 5, 2022. Eade’s third exhibition with Fou Gallery features his fifteen new works from 2020 to 2022. Landscape is a tool for Eade to convey complex emotions. The pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, forces of death and destruction, led Eade to create landscape paintings that reflect his thoughts on life, death, and the governing laws behind.
After the chaotic two years, people have already started to rethink how humans could coexist with the nonhuman world. Michael Eade’s recent works offer viewers an opportunity to explore a mystical world of destruction and rebirth through imagery and symbolism. In these landscapes, the artist reflected on the dialectic relationship between life and death, ephemerality and eternity by depicting symbolic imagery such as volcanic eruptions versus luscious wild flowers, tree saplings versus burnt tree trunks, and wildflowers versus burned soil. Unrestrained by religious interpretations, these symbols invite viewers to postulate using their own psychological apparatus the internal laws that brought about annihilation and reincarnation.
Michael Eade, Pine Tree Sapling (Small), No. 4, Peach Sky, 2020. Egg tempera, raised 22k gold leaf, raised copper and aluminum leaf on wood panel, 17 x 12 inches ©Michael Eade, courtesy Fou Gallery
Michael Eade, Pine Tree Sapling (Small), No. 5, Under Full Moon, 2020. Egg tempera, raised 22k gold leaf, raised copper and aluminum leaf on wood panel, 17 x 12 inches ©Michael Eade, courtesy Fou Gallery
Growing up in a family that was deeply invested in gardening, Eade has found a way to combine his love for fantasy drawings and passion in botany. For Eade, all nonhuman beings have souls. Each thing, or more specifically, each flower or leaf in this world is unique. William Blake once wrote, “to see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower.” In Eade’s paintings, through repetitively depicting, for example, the same plant over and over again in different paintings, he draws attention to the very unrepeatability of each being, urging us to recognize each being as it is, and to see life as both stagnant and transitory. In various mythical traditions, trees are often a source of fantasies and beliefs: Yggdrasil, the tree of life in Norse mythology that stands in the middle of the world, stretching out over nine realms, is said to be a gigantic tree of eternal green, supporting the entire universe. Jianmu in Chinese mythology Shan Hai Jing, is the tree that bridges heaven and earth as well as safeguarding various animals with its luscious leaves and fruits. Eade’s art shows the same kind of nature-based fantasies. In his early career, his imaginary land features alien-like figures. Over the years, instead of depicting anthropoids in a non-earthly world, Eade’s focus shifted to the non-human realm. This shift reinforces the idea that all material phenomena, including wild flowers, leaves, rocks, and volcanoes, can have agency.
Michael Eade, Vista (Panel No. 2), 2021–2022. Egg tempera, raised 22k gold leaf, raised copper and aluminum leaf, oil on wood panel, 7.75 x 36 inches ©Michael Eade, courtesy Fou Gallery
Michael Eade, Volcano and Full Moon, 2011. Egg tempera, raised 22k gold leaf, raised copper and aluminum leaf on wood panel, 11.5 x 48 inches ©Michael Eade, courtesy Fou Gallery
On top of the subject matter, Eade’s uncanny style between order and chaos further contributes to the discourse on metaphysics. Stars in the sky, the wild flowers in the foreground, and the spilling volcanic lava all spread out in a way that is both orderly and disorderly. Such visual language draws the viewer’s attention away from the materiality of destruction to abstract ideas behind.
Based on intuition, Eade creates an imaginary world that stands between the conscious and the unconscious, between reality and fantasy. The inextricable difficulty to articulate his spirituality and the mysterious air surrounding the non-human world he depicts suspends viewers’ rational thoughts. His world-building invites viewers to feel the obscure mystic power within us, to look around with curiosity, and to appreciate all small things in the world.
About the artist
Michael Eade (b. 1957, Oregon, U.S.A.) received a BA from Oregon State University and did further studies at the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenen Kunste, Stuttgart (studying egg tempera painting techniques), and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (studying film and computer animation techniques). He has received many honors including a residency at the Hermitage Artists’ Retreat, a studio membership at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and fellowships from the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, the National Academy Museum and School of the Fine Arts, Artists’ Fellowship Inc., and Aljira. Eade’s work appears in public and corporate collections including the Harvard Business School, HERMÈS, AT&T, the Library of Congress Permanent Collection and many private collections. In 2017 and 2019 respectively, Michael Eade had two solo exhibitions at Fou Gallery (New York) - Realms of the Soil and past is present is future.
About the curators
CO-CURATOR - Xiaorong Liu (b. 1995, Hangzhou, China) is a freelance writer, curator, and currently an Ishibashi Scholar at Tokyo University of the Arts. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in art history and math from Wellesley College, and obtained her M.A. from Yale University in East Asian Studies. She has assisted with the implementation of the Art and China after 1989 exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum (New York) and the Icons of New China photography exhibition at Yale-China (New Haven, Connecticut). She has also curated exhibitions Crafting the Past into the Future and Legacies of Literati at Fou Gallery (New York) and led the Cafe China x Anne Muntges project (New York) supported by Art in Touch in 2021. As a freelance writer, she has written for CAFA ART INFO and has also worked as a Chinese editor for the Museum 2050 Looking to New Institutional Models conference essay anthology.
CO-CURATOR - Xiao Zong (b. 1989, Kunming, China) is an independent curator based in New York and Shanghai. Zong received her M.A. in Curatorial Practice from School of Visual Arts, she also holds a M.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland's Robert. H. Smith Business School. She received her B.S. in Finance from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing. Previously, she was an investment banker at China Merchants Securities. Her passion for contemporary art brought her to the New York art world where she hopes to continue her practice, as well as in China. She assisted with Chinese curator Hou Hanru’s exhibition Uselessness As Usage (2021) at Times Museum. She has also curated exhibitions Narratives, Stories, Algorithms: Rethinking Independence in Digital Times at the Pfizer Building (New York), and LovingHatingLand at SVA Gallery (New York).
About the exhibition
Dates: March 26th – June 5th, 2022
Opening: Mar. 26, 2022, 2–8 pm
Curatorial Walk-through: Mar. 26, 3 pm
Location: Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Ave #1, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11221
Curators: Xiaorong Liu, Xiao Zong
Courtesy of the artist and Fou Gallery.