2261 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216
Thurs 2-7pm, Fri 12-4pm, Sat 12-5pm, open during theater performances.
Jan 11 through Mar 15.
Zeitgeist has a penchant for showcasing passionate, raw artists. The current solo exhibition of John Elkerr’s recent work is no exception. As the artist says, “I don’t want to walk into a gallery and see a pile of dirt. I want to see art that tells me about people.” That statement says a lot about Elkerr and his work itself.
Foreground and background merge in this piece by John Elkerr
It’s an honest statement, from a man whose work is an honest statement of how he views the world around him. With a mix of clean line work and energetic brush strokes, Elkerr’s style owes nods to the German Expressionists, the tormented imagery of Hieronymus Bosch, the primitive works of Picasso and perhaps to the surreal forms found in the paintings of Salvador Dali. That said, the end result is a body of work that is purely John Elkerr.
Elkerr’s imagery is a swirl of recognizable and abstract figurations. Defined figures metamorphosize into elements of the background. Whether the piece is completed in a matter of hours or months, the energy level that pours forth is consistently high.
Figures embrace/fight in this piece by John Elkerr
The subject matter of these complex compositions is the dealings of everyday life. The work is infused with current issues like how people deal with the threat of terror and the possibility of war, to ever present emotional issues of insecurity and love. Yet Elkerr achieves this simply with the use of line and color. The nature of the marks tells the story and expresses the meaning without ever needing to spell out a message to his audience.
Zeitgeist Gallery itself has made a significant improvement to their art space. What was once a makeshift wall of sorts has been torn down and replaced with a much more attractive floor to ceiling wall. It makes for a much stronger place to hang all types and sizes of work and complements the rest of the gallery’s brick walls well. Elkerr gets the honor of hanging the first artwork on this virginal surface. Full of complex figures and bold marks, these black and white ink drawings create a delightful dance on the walls.
This fascinating figure by John Elkerr graces Zeitgeist’s new wall space!
We all have a lot going on inside us, as a lot is going on in the world around us. A good artist balances the internal to make an effective statement about the external. There is a growing feeling of apprehension and frustration beneath the surface of culture today. Elkerr taps into this current and brings it to the surface in this emotionally charged, powerfully realized body of work. -nick
Zeitgeist mascot Pete adds to the surreal nature of the artwork.
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