Eric Thornton:

Without Friction,

There Can Be No Movement

Eric Thornton:

Without Friction, There Can Be No Movement

117 Beekman Street, New York

Opening: Thursday, February 13th 6pm-9pm
February 12th-March 1st, 2020

Mon-Fri: 10am-8pm, Sat-Sun: 10am-7pm

We recognize in a good photograph a transformative quality: that it exceeds mere description and articulates a deeper vision. We marvel at the camera’s ability to “faithfully” record an instant visual document. But, photography is actually the original, and quintessential surrealist medium. Uniquely compressing time and space, photography’s real identity is in the relationship between cosmic happenstance and artistic command.


Having received my education in analog photographic methods, social theory, and ethnography, I favor a hands-on approach to art-making, which connects me most closely to subject, process, and product. I work intuitively, from a place of curiosity and fascination, and prefer the experience, tangibility, and the Soul of a handmade artifact.


My first photobook premiered at Zonamaco in February 2019. A Perspective on the Prototypes is a concise photo-essay, which explores eight prototypes of the controversial US/Mexico border wall, constructed on the Tijuana/San Diego border. The book is a discussion of cultural exchange, artifice, and American colonialism and hegemony—motifs present in much of my work.


My open-ended urban landscape series “Bed-Stuy Love Song” is entirely photographed within a few minutes’ walking distance from my home. This project pays homage to my Brooklyn neighborhood, telling of my own experience of the time and space I occupy as a White person in an historically important African-American community. Issues of race relations, gentrification, and colonial histories are central to this work. But- like the blues, like a good love song, these images sing of life’s joys and tragedies with equal beauty.


In September 2019, I presented a solo exhibition of sixteen large-scale works at Please Space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. “My Eye Reaches But Little Ways” grappled with the notion that “the arc of moral history bends towards justice”—a sentiment shared by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. My current exhibition extends from and builds upon this conversation: “Without Friction, There Can Be No Movement” (solo show, curated by Wallplay, February 2020), addresses at the same time, and with equal urgency, the palpable tension of US politics and my own nascent personal, spiritual transformation.


Because empathy is the necessary condition for impeccable communication, I strive to create images to which my audience will react viscerally, as I do. With a reflexive and increasingly non- figurative approach to my work, I am less interested in conveying fact than conjuring mood. This way, one arrives not at a knowledge of what I know, but a feeling of what I have felt.




Copyright 2019. Wallplay Network LLC

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