I was recently connected to Ethan Greenbaum and became super intrigued about his work. I’m generally looking for uniqueness and manipulation of media in different ways –not that I don’t love a painter’s painter or a fantastic sculptor- but I’m always excited and stimulated by new takes on everyday materials.
And Ethan is extremely good at that. Inspired by the streets of New York and the intersection between romantic and raw, poetic and prosaic, he photographs asphalt, basement trapdoors, grafittied surfaces and manholes that depict the way he sees the city and its constant evolution. And then he manipulates the images digitally, gets them printed on large plastic sheets that then are vacuum molded around ceiling tiles. The result is a super texturized piece that is also highly visual. In a very simple way, Ethan is creating sculptures out of photographs.
He is also working and testing with 3D printers, which nobody has 100% figured out yet. But he has been able to turn the shapes that come out of the 3D printer into interesting pieces of art, including a small “Pink Panther” and an amalgamation of surfaces joined by hardware that look exactly like wood slabs. Somehow, these experiments interact and dialogue really well with the street pieces, giving continuity and consistency to Ethan’s body of work.
Ethan recently participated in a group show in the New York gallery of Hauser and Wirth. At the end of October he will be participating in a group show at Halsey MacKay in East Hampton and after that in another exhibition with Brand New Gallery in Milan. In 2011, Greenbaum was named by Modern Painters Magazine as one of 100 artists to watch. And guess what? I’m watching too.