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2010 BP Portrait Award winner David Eichenberg exhibits at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
David Eichenberg, "Aimee in Blue I", 2013 , oil on panel, 9 x 7" (17 ½ x 15 ½ inches framed).

NEW YORK, NY.- Bernarducci Meisel Gallery is presenting David Eichenberg’s first solo exhibition as part of their First Look program. Eichenberg’s small scale portraits mostly recall the Italian Renaissance portrait of the mid-15th Century as well as the paintings of the Old Masters. Although most of these paintings are devoid of a background, unlike their Italian predecessors where the atmospheric perspective of the countryside recedes for miles, the detail of each sitter’s person is obsessive. Each sitter’s personality is preserved, sometimes with a facial expression that is paired with elaborate clothing.

Aimee in Blue I is a portrait of a fire performer and acrobat, Aimee Funk. Aimee is situated in a tight composition looking back at the viewer over her left shoulder. She is dressed in a blue plaid shirt with her brown hair naturally falling over her right shoulder. Her left ear is exposed to the viewer, a barbell through the top or an “industrial” piercing is paired with her beautiful emerald earring is a ½ inch gauged plug. Aimee also has a nose stud and a lip-ring. Her body modifications appear tame and natural like the rest of her as Eichenberg paints her as a modern day version of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. EICHENBERG met most of his subjects at the Detroit Fire Guild, a group + of circus and fire performance artists. The paintings in this exhibition of members belonging to the Guild are those of Aimee, Jade, and Eric. In addition, EICHENBERG also paints many artists and bohemians he meets in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

Waiting on Destiny features glass artist Tim Stover after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree but prior to his admission to graduate school. This is the counterpart to another allegorical painting that earned EICHENBERG the 2010 BP Portrait Award. A rarity for the artist, this particular portrait contains a background with modern day iconography. Behind the sitter is a repurposed roulette table, a brick wall that is being revealed through the peeling paint, as well as the artist who appears to be looking out through a window, the only hint of which is granted from the light coming in. The roulette table alludes to gambling and its uselessness alludes to lack of control in its outcome. The brick wall, parallel to the sitter, can be indicative of the sitter’s proximity to hitting the “brick wall” if he is not granted the light from beyond the window to continue. His senses are muted by the ear buds blasting music and the sunglasses blocking the light. Only destiny can guide him now.

EICHENBERG lives and works in Toledo, OH. He was awarded first prize in the 2012 Contemporary Realism Biennial at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana. He has been nominated for the prestigious BP Portrait Award, three years running, in 2010 – 2012, in conjuction with the nominations his paintings have been on view at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.. An exhibition catalogue is available.

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