If you’ve visited the Guggenheim Museum Store or checked the GREY AREA website lately, then you’re familiar with the colorful works of New York based artist Eric Cahan. Eric defines his art as a study of light and its effect on the natural world. “I’m kind of obsessed,” he admitted, “with trying to capture the same quality of light.” Eric’s art does not simply depict an attempt to capture the effect, but also conveys the memory of viewing the effect. In doing so, he converts these light illusions (like a sunrise) and the memories of seeing them into tangible, permanent objects.
Inspiration struck Eric years ago during his visit to the Roden Crater, an extinct volcanic cinder cone, which his friend, artist James Turrell, has transformed into an art installation that showers visitors with a seemingly celestial light. Eric, a long time admirer of Turrell’s work, was hired to photograph a hotel lobby that he had designed. However, he found it impossible to capture what he saw with a camera. It was a turning point for Eric’s artistic focus, resulting in projects like his Sky series and Color Samples.
As for his pervasive use of resin, Eric had been exposed to the substance at Goldberg’s Ding Repair, a surfboard repair store on Montauk. The store kept excess resin in a canister that they used to glass styrofoam surfboards so they did not melt. He realized the industrial material’s artistic potential after he kicked the bottom of the canister out from under the resin and noticed the way that the build-up of material filtered the room’s light. Although Eric’s Color Samples are bright pops of color, his use of resin creates an interesting tension between the material’s original purpose (such as closing up potholes) and its now purely aesthetic function. By utilizing resin, Eric effectively renders it useless.
When asked how he felt about his art being sold in the Guggenheim Museum, Eric said: “I’m totally blown away! Now my mom finally considers me an artist.” Putting aside Eric’s modesty, his color studies are right at home in the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright building, along with James Turrell’s light installation. His bright Color Samples look like candy against the white background of the Guggenheim Museum.
What’s next from Eric Cahan? Eric’s visual focus is an occupational hazard that promises experimental and varied upcoming works. If you loved his Color Samples, you will surely swoon over his sky-scape depictions, including a Turrell-inspired Sky space and sculptures that act as three-dimensional versions of his canvases, all of which continue his mission to represent windows into memories. Whether it’s through the use of resin, glass, or fabric, Eric Cahan immortalizes transient memories in his bold, innovative designs.