New Photorealistic Paintings by Don Eddy > An exhibition of new work by Don Eddy recently opened at Nancy Hoffman Gallery and continues through December 9, 2023. Eddy is one of the few early photorealist artists who has taken his vision into new terrain and has expanded his unique painting process.
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In this exhibition, more than 20 new paintings from 2020-2023 are presented, ranging in scale from 59 x 44 inches to 9 x 12 inches. This new body of work was made during and directly after COVID-19 lockdown in New York City.
Eddy explains, “The streets were empty, there was nobody out, and in an interesting way, this became my city in a way it never had been before. I would take epic walks and subway rides—I would just get off and start walking—and it had a profound effect on me. When the first wave of COVID started lifting, just as spring was arriving, it felt like a rebirth for myself and the city.”
While the manifest content of Eddy’s work is the cityscape and nature, his overriding subject is light: light as it sparkles on the bridges of Manhattan, and glistens on the rushing rivers of Oregon. In “Water and Light,” the subject is clear, nature is the vehicle for the expression of both the magical and the sacred.
Over the past decade, Eddy’s work has focused on the cityscape, the infrastructure of the city in its bridges, and pure depictions of nature. In the 1970s, Eddy painted the California urban landscape, focusing on cars, reflections on cars, bumpers, and headlights. The subject came naturally to the son of a car body and fender shop owner. The artist moved quickly from cars to storefronts to shelves filled with glassware and toys.
For the past several years, Eddy has painted the urban landscape, this time New York; as well as his experiences in nature, celebrating light and season in a series he calls WAA, for Wake and Arise. Inspired by easing out of the pandemic, Eddy found beauty and prayer in fulsome blossoms. He found playfulness and joy in some of the amusement parks that surround Manhattan—Coney Island and Playland among them—zeroing in on the machine workings of the rides as well as the neon signs, the totality a visual orchestration of brilliant palette.
The works are painted in 20-30 layers of transparent acrylic over an underpainting of three colors. The first layer comprises circles of about a 20th of an inch in diameter of phthalocyanine green, the second burnt sienna, and the third dioxazine purple. With these three colors, Eddy separates warm from cool colors, and then begins to add many layers of transparent color to achieve the final palette of each work. In some cases, when the detail demands it, Eddy might use colored pencil to enhance the mullions of myriad windows of a cityscape, to capture the intricacy of cables of a bridge, or to reveal the inner machine workings of a carousel.
Some of his paintings are triptychs with three sections, others are polyptychs with four panels. The artist uses multi-paneled paintings to express the depth and richness of experiences.
A 2023 catalogue with an essay about the work of Don Eddy, authored by David C. Graves, is available on the gallery’s website. Says Graves, “…Don is talking about being aware of ‘experiencing’ itself, and not so much about what we are experiencing… As real-time experience is to actually live a life in this world, then contemplating what is actually involved in experience is to contemplate the very substance of our lives.”
About the Artist
Don Eddy lives and works in New York City. He was born in Long Beach, California in 1944. He received a B.F.A. in 1967 from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and an M.F.A. in 1969, also from the University of Hawaii. The artist attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, 1969-70, for post-graduate study.
In 1974, Don Eddy had his first solo exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Since then, Eddy’s work has been included in dozens of solo and group exhibitions at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, and at museums and galleries around the globe.
He has had exhibitions at Museu Europeu d’Art Modern, Barcelona, Spain; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina—traveling to Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida and Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; The Flint Institute of Art; The Huntington Museum of Art, West Virginia; University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu; The Art Gallery, Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida; National Museum of Gdansk; Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; and Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Eddy’s work is in the collections of such institutions as Akron Art Museum, Ohio; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musee D’Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Metropole, St. Etienne, France; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Colombia; Museu Europeu d’Art Modern, Barcelona, Spain; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Rhode Island School of Design; Providence Neue Galerie, Aachen, Germany; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York; Utrecht Museum, The Netherlands; U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Art in Embassies Program, U.S. Department of State; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.